WOOLWORTHS TO OFFLOAD $180M IN RETAIL ASSETS

WOOLWORTHS TO OFFLOAD $180M IN RETAIL ASSETS

RETAIL giant Woolworths is placing a $180 million portfolio of neighbourhood shopping centres across Australia on the market as part of its ongoing capital management program.

The portfolio comprises a mix of recently completed and partially developed retail assets in Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria and the Northern Territory.

The CBRE Australian Retail Investments team, headed by Peter Rossi, has been appointed to market the properties which are likely to garner interest from syndicators and institutions.

"The opportunity to purchase assets with an extremely secure and lengthy Woolworths' lease term and covenant is expected to draw significant interest in the sale process, particularly in light of the current demand for retail investment opportunities," says Rossi.

"Woolworths' shopping centre development program has been extremely successful due to their astute site selection, pragmatic and practical design philosophy and the very high standards and finishes they have included in all of their new projects."

The properties are located at Cornubia in Queensland; Mandurah and Dalyellup in Western Australia; Bakewell in the North Territory; and Seville and Selandra Rise in Victoria.

Three of the centres were recently completed with the remaining three to be sold by way of a development management agreement. All of the assets are secured by 20-year lease backs to Woolworths.

Woolworths has divested more than $2.8 billion of property assets since mid-2010, with about $2 billion folded into a new entity, Shopping Centres Australasia Property Group, in 2012.

The retailer's hotel subsidiary ALH Group also sold 54 freehold pubs in September last year for more than $600 million.

Expressions of Interest for the sale of the neighbourhood centres close on November 26.

The sale campaign coincides with continued strong interest in small-scale shopping centres nationally, with CBRE data highlighting that $1.1 billion worth of neighbourhood centres changed hands in the first three quarters of 2015 up 24 per cent from a year earlier.

"The current market for retail investments is the strongest we have seen for over a decade," Rossi says.


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