SUNLAND CONFIDENCE RETURNS

SUNLAND CONFIDENCE RETURNS

SUNLAND executive chairman Terry Jackman likened the board of the publicly listed property player to that of the Australian cricket team when an overwhelming majority of shareholders voted to retain its director and founder Soheil Abedian at its AGM.

“It’s like the Australian cricket team, harder to get out (of the team) than to get in,” quipped Jackman.

It was a less theatrical presentation from Soheil Abedian than last year, when he vented frustration at shareholders intent on a line of questioning relating to Dubai and whether it damaged the group’s Australian operations.

This year sentiment was more positive, spurred by an $18.3 million above profit guidance, with $20m forecast NPAT for FY11.

While Abedian was again questioned regarding operations on Dubai, the response was measured.

“Dubai is not in the best form, due to over-production but we have started a number of projects with two well underway,” says Abedian.

“The challenges that we have in Dubai relate to a failure of non-performing buyers and we are correcting that.”

Abedian was referring to the group’s D1 project, a ‘sister’ building to the Q1 in Surfers Paradise and the Versace Dubai. Sunland is seeking to raise a further $70 million to complete Versace, adding to an existing $90 million debt facility.

Versace is 81 per cent complete, while D1 is 61 per cent finished. Total deposits across the two projects have amounted to $63 million. The projects are non recourse to the Australian business.

Sunland managing director Sahba Abedian (pictured) utilised the AGM to assure around 200 shareholders that the group’s balance sheet and future projects were sound.

“The hallmark for Sunland over 27 years is its design excellence. Not only to deliver to the market, but to take away market share from our competitors,” he says.

“There have been challenges but needless to say, 2010 was a year that Sunland not only met, but exceeded targets.”

A third share buy-back tranche will also be released following the successful take-up of the two resulting in 49 million shares and earnings enhanced by 23 per cent.

The board thanked retiring director John Leaver for 15 years of service and for leadership in floating the company on the ASX. Craig Carracher was appointed non executive director.

A dividend was not declared.

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