Stockland’s sale of the Edmund Barton building in Canberra to fund manager Real I.S. is now expected to settle in mid-June, following a successful capital raising by the purchaser in its home town of Germany.
Stockland flagged the conditional forward-sale of the Edmund Barton building to Real I.S. for $186 million in December 2008. The sale represents an initial yield of 7.3 per cent and is one of Australia’s largest office transactions in the past 12 months.
Real I.S head of structured investments, Joachim Fritz, said: “The acquisition of the Edmund Barton building is based on our long-term investment strategy for the Australian market which is focused on core office investments with long-term leases to very good tenants.
“The quality of the project and the fact that the property investment market in Australia provides for attractive yields after the recent corrections, formed the basis for the successful syndication of $200 million in equity from our German retail investors within just a couple of days.”
Stockland CEO Commercial Property, John Schroder, said: “This sale demonstrates our commitment to actively managing our portfolio and using our property management, leasing and development expertise to realise value in our portfolio and recycle capital.
“The success of the Real I.S. syndication and such strong investor interest from the German market is testament to the quality of this asset and we’re very pleased with this result.”
The Edmund Barton building, designed by Harry Seidler, is currently being refurbished and is due for completion in August 2009. Upon completion, the A-grade building will become the new Australian Federal Police headquarters, accommodating over 2,000 employees under a long-term lease. Stockland has agreed to continue to manage the property on behalf of Real I.S. for up to two years.
Real I.S. structured a closed-ended fund for the German retail market and the company intends to use the funds raised to cover the purchase of the Edmund Barton building as well as additional acquisition costs.
“Real I.S. is a leading fund and asset manager and has been active in the Australian commercial property market for many years. Real I.S. has acquired investments worth over $A1 billion in the past four years and continues to have a long-term strategy for the Australian market. Real I.S. is currently working on further transactions for both retail and for institutional investors,” Mr Fritz said.
Since beginning its program of asset sales in late 2007, Stockland has now sold a total of $1.27 billion worth of retail, office and industrial assets at a weighted average yield of 6.7 per cent. The company currently has a further $95 million of asset sales exchanged, subject to settlement.