GPT’s focus in 2012 was on its ‘optimise and grow’ strategy and this has since delivered pleasing results.
The company achieved a net profit after tax of $594.5 million, up 141.5 per cent on the previous year for the year ended 31 December 2012. The results reflect strong operational performance and an uplift in underlying property values.
The company’s retail portfolio delivered 3 per cent comparable income growth with speciality sales growth up 1.5 per cent. The total return for the portfolio was 8.6 per cent. Occupancy increased to 99.5 per cent, representing only 26 vacancies out of a total of 3,700 tenancies.
Given the challenging retail sales environment, according GPT head of investment management, Carmel Hourigan, the company has been focused on active remixing to deliver the right tenants in the right locations, securing occupancy to underpin income and securing earnings growth into the future through structured rental increases.
“As part of its active management approach, GPT announced in June 2012 a strategy to move its weighting in retail from 61 per cent to 50 per cent of the
total portfolio, with redeployment of capital into office, with a target weighting of 35 per cent and logistics & business parks, with a target weighting of 15 per cent,” she said.
“Over the course of the year GPT has made good progress on executing this strategy, with the divestment of $643 million in retail assets and the acquisition of $143 million of logistics assets.”
The $300 million major expansion of Highpoint Shopping Centre in western Melbourne is nearing completion with the second stage on track to open next month. The development is 100 per cent leased with a number of high profile international retailers including Top Shop and Zara secured.
The $200 million expansion of Wollongong Central on behalf of the GPT Wholesale Shopping Centre Fund (GWSCF) is also progressing well with leasing about to commence. This retail development is due to be completed in the first half of 2014.
GPT expects retail sales growth to remain subdued in the short term, with larger regional centres that offer a broad retail experience continuing to outperform other retail asset classes.