Charter Hall buys $269.4m logistics portfolio off-market

Vaughan Constructions completed the Knoxfield facility three years ago.

Charter Hall, for its Prime Industrial Fund (CPIF), has purchased 25 cold store and food distribution centres in an off-market deal worth $269.4 million.

The Knoxfield complex contains 22 recessed docks and water tanks which collect half a million litres of rain water per annum.

The leaseback agreement is with PFD Food Services, a business which Woolworths is presently seeking to acquire a 65 per cent stake in.

This financial year, the manager has outlaid more than $2.5 billion on logistics facilities.

Since 2018 – this figure is $6.3b.

Its industrial portfolio is now worth $12.7b, held in several trusts.

Stock worth $2.3b is mooted for construction.

PFD is the country’s largest privately owned food service distributor – its range including chilled, dry and frozen products, fresh seafood and meat, confectionary, paper and cleaning goods.

Clients include airlines, aged care complexes, childcare centres, correctional service providers, fast food outlets, kindergartens and schools, hospitality venues (clubs, pubs and restaurants), hotels, and sporting facilities.

Founder Rick Smith said the deal “provides a new key relationship to facilitate further growth that we are enthusiastically planning for”.

The PFD portfolio

CPIF is the manager’s flagship wholesale industrial fund, estimated to be worth $6b.

The PFD properties contain a total 82,311 square metres of area.

The buildings are spread over 29.3 hectares – a low overall site coverage of 28pc, allowing the landlord to build more product (story continues below).

Measured by income, 55pc of the portfolio is in Victoria – and includes the uber green Henderson Road, Knoxfield, facility, with 25,484 sqm of area – including offices utilised as company headquarters.

Almost a quarter (23pc) is in Queensland – with South Australia comprising 10pc.

“The portfolio provides access to a secure and growing income stream over the long term which is underpinned by a 13.8 year Weighted Average Lease Expiry with a double net lease structure and annual rent reviews of 2.8pc,” CPIF fund manager Richard Mason said.

“The acquisition also increases CPIF’s sector leading WALE to 10.7 years,” he added.

“The PFD Food Services acquisition also adds to CPIF’s substantial portfolio in the food logistics sector, with 54pc of the portfolio now leased to high quality food and beverage companies including Coles, Woolworths, Metcash, ALDI, Coca-Cola Amatil, Lion Dairy and Arnotts”.

Charter Hall managing director and group chief executive officer, David Harrison, said “the acquisition continues our momentum in securing sale and leaseback portfolios from leading corporates and demonstrates the group’s ability to close large transactions, swiftly and efficiently within the desired timeframes of vendors”.

“The off-market [acquisition] is a testament to our ability to work with corporates to develop tailored deal structures that support their broader investment strategies and release capital back into their businesses”.

Last year, CPIF outlaid $929.4m in two tranches for the ALDI portfolio – also with a low (34pc) site coverage.

It secured $2.6b following two capital raisings too.

More than 90pc of the investments are on Australia’s east coast.

Last week, for Charter Hall Direct Industrial Fund No 4, the manager paid Patties Foods $141m for two pie making plants, including one spreading 5.4ha abutting residential – and near a train station – in Melbourne’s Pakenham.

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Marc Pallisco

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

Marc Pallisco