UPDATE 1-Australand Property says receives GPT offer; shares up

Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:11am GMT

Quotes

   

* GPT wants to buy investment, commercial and industrial business

* Australand says has not formed a view, offer incomplete

* Australand shares up 9 pct; GPT nudges higher (Adds market reaction, comments)

MELBOURNE, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Australia's Australand Property Group said it has received an unsolicited, highly conditional offer from property trust GPT Group to buy parts of its business, including its A$2.3 billion ($2.4 billion) investment property portfolio.

Australand, a diversified property group 59 percent owned by Singapore-based property group CapitaLand Ltd, said on Monday it had not formed a view on the proposal, which is also targetting its smaller commercial and industrial business.

Its shares rose 9 percent on the news.

No price for the offer was given. Australand described it as incomplete and subject to a number of factors including due diligence.

In a separate statement, GPT said it wanted to begin talks with Australand over its cash offer.

"Australand is attractive because industrial (property) is a high-yielding asset class," said Sholto Machonochile, analyst at CLSA.

"They (GPT) probably don't want exposure to residential, which is why they've offered for asset purchase rather than company purchase," he added.

Australand's investment property division had a total portfolio value of A$2.3 billion with 70 properties at June 30, according to the company's website.

Under the proposal, Australand would retain the residential business and remain listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.

Australand's shares rose as much as 9.6 percent to A$3.34, the biggest one-day rise since June 2009. It last traded up 6 percent for a market capitalisation of A$1.84 billion.

Analysts said GPT may have to go above the book value to get the deal done. Its shares gained 0.6 percent.

"For GPT, it would increase their passively managed property and slightly decrease the development portfolio, so that is within their strategy," said Bell Potter Securities head of research Peter Quinton.

Ratings agency Standard & Poor's said its ratings on GPT would not be affected by the offer, saying a deal was consistent with GPT's plan to increase the weighting of office and industrial assets in its portfolio, and reduce retail.

Analysts at Credit Suisse said Australand's investment property portfolio contribubted 61 percent of fiscal 2012 earnings. Its residential business accounted for 32 percent of earnings and its commercial and industrial business 7 percent.

($1 = 0.9533 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Victoria Thieberger and Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Richard Pullin)