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AMP in Aussie asset scramble

By Chris Hutching

Friday 18th July 2003

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AMP in Australia is continuing to cash up its property holdings with a "friendly" bid by the Macquarie Goodman Industrial Trust for 12.2% of the AMP Industrial Trust from AMP Life for $A55 million or $A1.28 per unit.

The bid is "friendly" because AMP directors realise the price is better that they might have expected in a less heated market.

According to a New Zealand analyst reviewing events over the Tasman, Australia's compulsory superan-
nuation regime means that fund managers are searching for opportunities to invest client moneys and are making bids that may not be underpinned by earnings. With other equities out of favour the Australian market thirst for property has been described by some market watchers as "frenzied."

Macquarie told the Australian Stock Exchange it would proceed to a full takeover bid, offering other investors A5c cash and 0.811 of a Macquarie Goodman unit for every AMP Industrial unit, which at recent prices is about $A1.28 per unit ­ a 23% premium to net asset backing, and 6% above the trust's weighted average price in recent months.

Macquarie Goodman has also agreed to buy the property and asset management business from AMP Henderson Global Investors for $A17.5 million.

The enlarged trust will be Australia's eighth-largest listed property trust, with market capitalisation of more than $A2 billion.

An independent appraisal report by Deloitte Corporate Finance will be sent to unit holders on July 25.

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