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TTP granted waiver on asset sale

By Chris Hutching

Friday 27th June 2003

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Shareholders of Trans Tasman Properties' 50.1%-owned subsidiary, Australian-listed Australian Growth Properties (AGP), will meet on July 5 to vote on the $397 million sale of two Sydney office buildings comprising 89% of its assets.

Some of the money ­ $137 million ­ will be used to repay debt but AGP directors have yet to decide what the balance will be used for, raising concerns among minority shareholders of AGP and TTP that once again the affairs of the company are largely being decided by its corporate majority shareholders.

With about 46% of Trans Tasman's assets tied up in the Australian subsidiary, the sale has significant implications for shareholders but TTP was this week granted a waiver from holding a meeting.

The waiver was granted on the basis that Trans Tasman's 55% owner, Hong Kong-based SEA Holdings, has already signaled it favours the sale.

The waiver is unlikely to please Trans Tasman's minority shareholders who have on several occasions in the past couple of years complained to directors about poor performance and dominance by SEA Holdings.

Some minority shareholders have called for the company to repay any available capital to shareholders.

Potentially the sale of the office towers could mean that TTP might receive a capital repayment that could be applied to various planned property developments, although SEA Holdings would end up with a significant proportion, or AGP might reinvest it in Australia.

In Australia, the Australian Financial Review reports that minority shareholders in AGP are also unhappy at the lack of information about the proceeds of the sale in light of recent poor performance but unlike TTP shareholders they will have an opportunity to discuss and vote on the sale on July 5 of the two key properties at 363 and 345 George St in Sydney.

The buyer is German fund manager, Deka Immobilien Investment. Net proceeds from the sale after deducting income guarantees and other costs will be $385.7 million.

Once the funding is paid out, 78% per cent of AGP's assets will be in cash.

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