ANZ takes 9% stake in Vital Healthcare, affirms support for subsidiary manager
Australia & New Zealand Banking Group has taken a 9% stake in Vital Healthcare Property Trust as the property investor’s ANZ-owned manager finds itself at odds with the independent directors to internalise the contract.
ANZ subsidiary AUT Investments paid $31.2 million for 26.1 million units, or 9%, of Vital Healthcare, according to a statement to the NZX. Part of that acquisition came from ANZ subsidiary OnePath New Zealand, which made a substantial disclosure notice saying its stake had reduced to 4.6% from 7.8%.
“ANZ will continue to consider all options for the future of Vital Healthcare Management, the manager of the trust,” ANZ managing director of wealth John Body said in a statement.
OnePath owns the manager of Vital whose negotiations with independent directors Bill Thurston and Graeme Horsley stalled over a $2 million pay gap, though talks have since resumed. OnePath wasn’t willing to accept less than $8 million to sell the management contract, having already slashed $6 million from its starting point.
Unitholders are waiting on an independent report by Grant Samuel & Associates, which will be followed by a special meeting where they will vote on whether to support internalisation or dumping the manager in favour of a proposal put forward by Ascot Property Management to lead the change.
Investors will also have the option to remove the manager at no cost, though the independent directors see little chance of that succeeding as it needs trustee approval, and is unlikely to get it.
Vital lifted annual earnings 50% to $18.2 million on fatter rental income, having completed a programme of buying up healthcare property across the Tasman.
The units rose 1.8% to $1.15 in trading today, and have gained 6.6% this year.
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