Property divestments pay off for EVENT but cinemas reeling from lockdowns

Property divestments pay off for EVENT but cinemas reeling from lockdowns

EVENT Hospitality & Entertainment CEO Jane Hastings.

Sales of EVENT Hospitality & Entertainment's (ASX: EVT) non-core property assets have realised $79.6 million worth of gross proceeds, exceeding recent valuations by $29.8 million.

The 60 per cent increase in value for the now-divested properties, which include the Forum Building in Brisbane, a serviced office in Double Bay, the Rydges Plaza Cairns Hotel and more, is a boon for EVENT according to CEO Jane Hastings.

"Since announcing our strategy in February 2021 to divest non-core property assets, we have made excellent progress realising prices significantly above previously independent valuations," Hastings said

"The sale of $79.6 million in assets to date has recognised a 60 per cent increase on independent valuations. This has enabled us to reduce net debt levels, progress major developments and undertake key asset upgrades.

"We are also in the process of obtaining updated independent valuations for the property portfolio as at 30 June 2021 and expect a positive uplift in value."

On the back of these divestments EVENT has been emboldened and has identified further non-core properties to sell in FY22, targeting in excess of $150 million based on independent valuations.

Hastings also gave an update on how the group's cinema division is tracking, noting recent lockdowns have been a massive blow to the company which was only just seeing things come back to normal levels in 1H21.

"The expectation was that an effective vaccine rollout program would mean that the impact of snap lockdowns would be mitigated, and government support would no longer be required," Hastings said.

"In light of the current lockdowns resulting in restrictions that are now impacting most of Australia, further support is required.

"We are pleased that the Business Support packages are being offered to small and medium businesses, however, they are currently not applicable to large businesses with the most employees."

As such, Hastings says EVENT is discussing its options with industries and government bodies.

Meanwhile in Germany, where EVENT operates the CineStar brand of cinemas, the company says locations were shut throughout the second half due to government mandates but reopened on 1 July 2021.

As such, EVENT says government financial support will help offset losses during the closure period from November 2020 to June 2021 and applications have been lodged for $43.5 million of support to date.

 

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