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ING Property posts 1st half loss of $5.6 mln as property market remains strained

Tuesday 24th November 2009

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ING Property Trust, the property investor that’s sold 20 properties in the past year, made a first-half loss as the property market lags behind the recent pick-up in the economy and remains strained.  

The company made a $5.6 million loss in the six months ended Sept. 30, or 1.06 cents per unit, compared to a $276,000 profit, or 0.05 cents per unit, a year earlier, as it incurred a $13.5 million finance expense and made a $7.3 million loss on derivatives. It also wrote down $13.6 million in the fair value of its investment property.  

The property investor chose to pay down debt and boost its balance sheet through a series of asset sales rather than raising capital and has unconditionally sold 20 properties since December last year. The proceeds of the sales have helped it slash its bank debt to $405 million from $532 million a year earlier.  

“We expected ING to have some adjustments for the impact of valuations,” said Paul Richardson, chief investment officer at BT Funds Management. “Having said that, it looks like they’re doing a better job with their balance sheet and the sector’s probably past the worst.”  

ING Property reported a $2.2 million gain in comprehensive income after tax, compared to a $10.6 million loss. Comprehensive income takes into account a number of financial reporting standards requirements such as unrealised movements in interest rate hedges, property valuations and construction.  

The company said its tenant retention rates were strong in the period as it negotiated 27 lease extensions and raised the weighted average lease term to more than five years.  

“While both the global and domestic economy are beginning to show some positive signs of moving towards recovery, the property market, as accommodation providers to the nation’s businesses, has continued to show signs of strain,” the company said in a statement. 

ING Property’s directors announced a second-quarter cash distribution of 1.875 cents per unit. The shares climbed 1.4% to 76 cents and have gained 14% this year.

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