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Precinct buys Queen St's HSBC Tower for $103M, signals funding review

Monday 25th March 2013

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Precinct Properties New Zealand, formerly AMP NZ Office, has agreed to buy HSBC Tower at the bottom of Auckland's Queen St for $103 million, and plans to run the ruler over its existing funding options.

The deal is subject to board approval and the completion of due diligence, and Overseas Investment Office sign-off, the property investor said in a statement. The purchase price represents an initial yield of 7.7 percent. Settlement is scheduled in five months, and the Precinct board will use that time to review all funding options, including debt, equity and the sale of non-core assets.

"The board will seek to balance considerations of portfolio optimisation, earnings, growth and maintaining an appropriately geared balance sheet," the company said.

The building was put on the market in October last year by Kerry Knight and Chong du Cheng's Equinox Capital and two other investment partners. The sale was to let the owners shift capital to new development projects.

The 21-storey tower is 88 percent occupied with a weighted average lease term of about four years, and the sellers will provide a six month underwrite for 2,300 square metres of vacant space.

The acquisition will increase Precinct's Auckland weighting to 57 percent, maintaining a bias to the country's biggest city.

Precinct has lifted its available bank facilities to $635 million from $535 million to pay for the deal, and gearing will increase to 37.5 percent from 33.5 percent if the acquisition is fully debt funded.

The building is expected to contribute to earnings growth over the coming years, with the extent depending on how it will be funded.

The shares were unchanged at $1.035 today, and have gained 4.6 percent this year.

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