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National Property digests Eastgate

By Chris Hutching

Friday 14th February 2003

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National Property Trust's interim profit result posted earlier this week was adversely affected by the redevelopment of its Eastgate Shopping Centre in Christchurch but chairman Paul Dallimore expects revenue to "normalise" when the shopping centre is completed in a couple of months.

The dividend payout for the half-year to November 30, 2002, represents a gross dividend of 4.6c a share.

The forecast payout contained in a November 12, 2001, investment statement and prospectus stated that distributions to unit holders for the financial years ending May 2002 and May 2003 will be at a minimum rate of 9c per unit.

During the development period of Eastgate the payouts have been topped up with capital contributions to take account of reduced surpluses available.

Negotiations with a potential purchaser of the one of the trust's properties ­ the AA centre in Auckland ­ are under way and should boost the full-year result.

The trust is expected to release more information about Eastgate over the next fortnight ahead of its April opening. Mr Dallimore said Eastgate is now 96% leased.

The company has been competing with other shopping centre redevelopments including Kiwi Income Property Trust's Northlands revamp and privately owned The Palms at Shirley, both undergoing refurbishments of $90 million and $50 million respectively.

National Property Trust's revenues over the next 24 months should reveal whether Eastgate's targeting of the well-heeled eastern hillside suburbs is a successful strategy.

During the six months under review the trust has consolidated its takeover of Newmarket Property Trust which has boosted revenue and assets (at November 30, 2002) National held 87.3% of the units on issue in Newmarket and consolidates Newmarket's revenue as a subsidiary).

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