Mirvac Profit Drops 66% on Housing Development Writedowns

Mirvac Group (MGR), Australia’s third-biggest diversified property trust by market value, said full-year profit dropped 66 percent after taking impairments on some residential developments.

Net income fell to A$139.9 million ($126 million) in the 12 months to June 30, from A$416.1 million a year earlier, the Sydney-based company said in a statement today. Operating earnings per share will be between 11.7 Australian cents and 12 cents in fiscal year 2014, up from 10.9 cents in the 12 months ended June 30, it said.

Mirvac in May said it would focus on high-quality offices and investment partnerships to increase returns after writedowns of A$273.2 million in its residential development business weighed on first-half performance. The company purchased A$584 million of office buildings from GE Capital’s local real estate arm, and is in due diligence with investors for its planned office investment joint venture “club,” Chief Executive Officer Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz said today.

“We’re really focused on the office club,” Lloyd-Hurwitz said in a telephone interview, without specifying a time frame. “We’re in discussions with a number of investors about participating in the office club with 50 percent to be held by Mirvac and 50 percent by a small number of investors.”

While Mirvac also has plans for similar clubs for other parts of its business, it doesn’t have advanced plans for them yet, she said.

Mirvac shares rose 1.5 percent to A$1.665 at the close of trading in Sydney, compared with a 0.9 percent increase in the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index.

Investment Assets

Mirvac had A$6.8 billion of investment assets as of June 30. Its investment division recorded a 3.5 percent increase in net operating income, it said.

The company, which sold A$189.7 million of lower-quality assets during the year, will dispose of as much as A$150 million of properties in fiscal year 2014, Lloyd-Hurwitz said today.

“The things we’re selling are non-core to us, so they’re not in the category of high-quality assets that everybody wants to hold for the long term,” she said. “So that’s why we take a flexible approach to making sure we’re putting assets into the market at the right pace, in the right segments when we think there’s an opportunity. They’re on average, more difficult assets to sell.”

Housing Recovery

In its residential division, Mirvac achieved 1,809 lot settlements, compared with its target for sales as high as 1,700. It forecasts either improvements or little change in performance in its markets.

“In New South Wales, Victoria and Perth, we’ve seen some price growth and improvement in market conditions but I’ll temper that comment by saying that southeast Queensland is still very fragile,” Lloyd-Hurwitz said. “So tentatively, yes, we think the worst is over.”

Chairman James MacKenzie, who has held his position since 2005, will step down at the company’s annual investor meeting in November, he said in a statement yesterday. The board is considering a succession plan, he said.

Mirvac’s dividend will be 8.7 Australian cents for the year, from 8.4 cents 12 months earlier, it said today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nichola Saminather in Sydney at nsaminather1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andreea Papuc at apapuc1@bloomberg.net

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