Cbus, UniSuper strike Australia’s biggest retail deal

Macquarie Centre contains c135,000 square metres of area.

Cbus Property and UniSuper have partnered with AMP Capital to acquire stakes in two major shopping centres for a total of $2.2 billion – Australia’s largest retail transaction and one of the world’s biggest since 2018.

Part of the Macquarie Centre is permitted for an entertainment and leisure precinct.

The deal includes an 80 per cent share in Gold Coast’s Pacific Fair for a price reflecting a 4.75 per cent yield, and a half interest in Sydney’s Macquarie Centre (a 4.5pc return).

The three groups will hold the assets in the unlisted AMP Capital Retail Trust (ACRT) – seeing out positions held by Abu Dhabi Investment Authority’s Harina Company Limited, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and AMP Life Property Fund.

Cbus and UniSuper are expected to hold a greater stake.

AMP Capital, which developed and manages the properties and conducted the divestment, was advised by Colliers’ Lachlan MacGillivray with Morgan Stanley’s Tim Church and Craig Smith.

Interestingly, the balance of the Gold Coast complex and a quarter of the Sydney centre are also for sale via Dexus’ Wholesale Property Fund.

Those stakes are expected to fetch close to $700 million.

AMP Capital – which is expected to become a private entity next year – will retain the management of the c$1.8b Pacific Fair, at Broadbeach, and c$1.6b Macquarie Centre, in Macquarie Park (story continues below).

Mixed use redevelopments coming

AMP Capital head of Real Estate, Kylie O’Connor said, following the deal and demerger, it plans to unlock opportunities by capitalising on the mixed-use potential of each asset “both of which are in prime locations within exceptional trade areas”.

Part of the Macquarie Centre is already permitted to become a leisure and entertainment precinct, with an Olympic sized ice skating rink.

UniSuper head of Property and Infrastructure, Kent Robbins, added it anticipates an increase in returns as retailers seek exposure to dominant shopping centres.

Cbus’ chief executive officer Adrian Pozzo described the properties as blue-chip, complementing its office portfolio.

ACRT was established in 2012.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of realestatesource.com.au.