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Urbus grabs wine HQ

By Christine Nikiel

Friday 24th January 2003

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Stock Exchange candidate Urbus has added to its haul of industrial property with the purchase of wine company Montana's main bottling plant and head office in Auckland's East Tamaki.

In one of the biggest industrial transactions of 2002, Urbus bought the 5.5ha site, which includes 17,651sq m of warehouse and 37,165sq m of office space, for $15.5 million.

The deal, marketed by Colliers and scheduled to be settled at the end of March, boosts the Urbus portfolio up to an average weighted unexpired lease term of 5.2 years from five years.

Urbus already owns three other properties in East Tamaki, with the new building bumping the company up to 38,782sq m of industrial space in the area.

Urbus director Shayne Hodge said East Tamaki was a proven and well-established area for industrial investment.

Mr Hodge said the purchase reflected the company's strategy of increasing its focus toward industrial and bulk retail property in Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington.

The property would provide additional development opportunities with about 10,000sq m of future additional expansion or development of new buildings.

The site and building was owned by Auckland winemaker Corbans until that company was bought out by Montana in November 2000.

A spokesman for Urbus' negotiating representative, Terra Firma, said every effort had been made to tenant the building before any sale to get a better price. Although Montana still has a small presence there, it is looking to leave this year.

The major tenant is Tasman Logistics, with accountants Harts and CDP Security smaller tenants.

Urbus also owns the 6859sq m building tenanted by Selwyn's Distribution Centre at 10 Transport Pl, at a net contract rental of $680,100; Robinson Industries tenants 6 Zelanian Dr at a net contract rental of $395,000 for 5071sq m and South Pacific Tyres tenants 99-104 Springs Rd, Tamaki for a net contract rental of $242,000 for 3,795sq m.

The Urbus portfolio is now 31% industrial property, 37% retail property and 32% office buildings.

The company worked on re-weighting its portfolio toward industrial and retail last year, selling six properties for about $14.156 million, and said it wanted to focus on investing in Auckland.

Urbus has plans to list on the New Zealand Stock Exchange this year.

In November, investors voted for a proposal to buy 16 properties owned by seven Waltus Syndicate companies and two Waltus Syndicate special partnerships for $157 million. The proposal was settled in December, taking the total portfolio value to $390 million.

The purchase drove Urbus to become the country's fourth- largest property company behind Trans Tasman Properties, Kiwi Income Property Trust and AMP NZ Office Trust, with a portfolio of $479 million.

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