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NZ supermarket deal goes unconditional

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Friday 1st September 2000

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Australian supermarket property trust, Macquarie CountryWide Management, says its proposal to buy a portfolio of 13 Progressive Enterprises' supermarket properties in New Zealand has gone unconditional.

The trust is paying for $83.5 million in total, and will settle 12 of the properties for $76.5 million by the end of the month, with the remaining property being subject to right of first refusal to a third party. It says the NZ portfolio represents 11% by value of its total assets of A$537 million.

The initial 12 properties are anchored by a Coustdown, Foodtown, or Fresh Choice supermarket, with six in Auckland, one each in Morrinsville and Lower Hutt, and the rest in the South Island.

On completion of the transaction the trust says it will own 18 per cent of Progressive's Coustdown and Foodtown branded supermarkets in NZ. The forecast sales growth for the portfolio is 3.5%.

Macquarie CountryWide's CEO, Kylie Rampa, says New Zealand offers a number of advantages which makes the acquisition attractive, including similar demographics to Australia, geographic proximity, and similar retail trends.

"Our primary focus remains in Australia where the scope for further acquisitions is significant however we will continue to look for further opportunities to consolidate our position in New Zealand."

Macquarie CountryWide says intends to limit investment in New Zealand to approximately 15 per cent of total portfolio value.

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