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Wider profile sought for new property company

The future of the Waltus Property Trust is under review, now that Waltus Property Investments is up and running.

Wednesday, February 14th 2001, 6:33PM

by Paul McBeth

The future of the Waltus Property Trust is under review, now that Waltus Property Investments is up and running.

Waltus director Shayne Hodge said yesterday that the trust had held stakes in a number of those syndicates merged to form Waltus Property Investments. While he said that the merger had been to the trust's benefit and its performance had been very satisfactory, "we’re actually reviewing the long-term future of that vehicle".

Hodge said that the trust was set up in 1996 to provide investment in direct property, listed property securities and unlisted syndicates. Its capitalisation was around $10.5 million, with some $4 million in those syndicates now subsumed into the new company.

Given that Waltus Property Investments had assets of some $240 million, he said the trust was obviously not a major stockholder. However, 40 per cent of the trust's investment was now in one vehicle, even though the underlying assets hadn’t changed.

Hodge said the strategic review of the trust should be completed by late March/early April.

Meanwhile, a higher profile for the new company is on the agenda, with Hodge planning a road-show for Stock Exchange members next month. Waltus Property Investments has been trading on the exchange’s unlisted facility since before Christmas, but Hodge said there had only been about 200,000 trades so far.

"That is very thin given that there are 70 million shares on issue.

" What we have to do is introduce the company to the wider market."

He said that, while there had been negative media publicity about the low share price, 100,000 had crossed initially at $1 and last Friday there were 75,000 parcels available between 62c and $1, with most sellers above 80c.

Hodge said that, since the merger, the average lease for the properties in Waltus Property Investment had been improved from around five and a half years to nearly six years and there had been "some significant upside" on the prospectus forecasts. While there would be some rationalisation of properties, he said there wouldn't be any wholesale changes.

Earlier stories:

Court of Appeal dismisses objections to Waltus proposal

Investors still piqued

Paul is a staff writer for Good Returns based in Wellington.

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