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National Property Trust to maintain dividends as property values drop

Tuesday 25th May 2010

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National Property Trust, the property investor forced to hold a special meeting to vote on dumping its manager, said it will maintain its current level of dividend payments after posting a drop in the value of properties that resulted in a full-year net loss. 

The net loss narrowed to $13.2 million in the 12 months ended March 31, from a loss of $21 million a year earlier, the trust said in a statement today.

The trust met its forecast dividend distribution of 4.5 cents a unit, including a final payment of 1.125 cents, and said it expects the payment to be maintained at that level in 2011. 

The trust’s units fell 4% to 48 cents on the NZX and have gained 43% in the past 12 months. Its total assets at March 31 were $191.2 million, down from $266.8 million a year earlier.

Adjusted net asset backing per unit fell to 71.87 cents from 81.86 cents. 

St Laurence group-owned National Property Trust, which manages NPT, risks being dumped after unit holders representing more than 10% of the trust called for a vote and requested the results be made public.

The rebel faction says the manager’s fees are out of whack with its performance. 

Perpetual Trust this month sent St Laurence into receivership, ignoring a proposal to debenture holders from the finance company’s managing director Kevin Podmore to swap their debt for equity in a new holding company. 

The receivership didn’t include St Laurence’s management companies, which hold the contracts to manage NPT and Irongate Property.

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