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National Property in talks about merger, considers liquidation

Tuesday 14th October 2008

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The manager of National Property Trust said it's in talks about a possible merger of its property portfolio and has hired PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) to consider options ranging from capital ranging to liquidation of the trust.

The trust is in discussions with several parties about merging property portfolios, according to a statement from Kevin Podmore, chairman of National Property Trust, the trust's manager.

PWC has been asked to value the property portfolio "in the current market under a liquidation scenario," according to the statement.

"The strategic review is to consider the best option for the trust and its investors going forward," Podmore said. The board is exploring options "ranging from a merger of capital-raising through to a liquidation of the trust," he said.

National Property's portfolio value fell NZ$13.5 million, or 4.6%, to $280.2 million, the managers aid last week. The decline mirrors a slide in other property trusts amid the global credit squeeze and property market downturn. Goodman Property Trust industrial and business property portfolio fell NZ$55.6 million, or 3.4%, to NZ$1.58 billion as at Sept. 30, the trust's manager, Goodman (NZ) Ltd. said last week.

National Property's biggest investments are the Eastgate Shopping Centre in Christchurch, at NZ$90 million, and the Rialto centre in Auckland at NZ$39 million.

Its units gained 2.3% to 45 cents today, valuing the company at NZ$89.8 million.

By Jonathan Underhill

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