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GPT Full-Year Profit Rises 67% on Climbing Rents, Values

Aug. 26 (Bloomberg) -- GPT Group, Australia’s third-biggest property trust by market capitalization, reported a 67 percent jump in first-half profit after rents and the values of its properties rose.

Net profit for the six months to June 30 was A$243.1 million ($253.6 million), compared with A$145.2 million a year earlier, according to a statement from the Sydney-based company today. Operating profit rose 8 percent to A$221.5 million, the company said.

“We are undertaking a range of opportunities to add value to our business,” including A$1.8 billion worth of development projects, Managing Director Michael Cameron said in the statement. “We are excited about the future performance of the business as we now have strong building blocks in place for growth in 2011 and beyond.”

GPT, which has sold off some properties, is using the proceeds to buy back up to 5 percent of its outstanding shares in a bid to narrow the gap between its trading price and the value of its assets. The company is focusing on expanding its business at home through rent increases, growth in funds management, developments and acquisitions, Cameron told shareholders in May.

GPT will pay a dividend of 8.5 Australian cents for the half year and expects full-year operating profit to climb about 7 percent in 2011 from a year ago, 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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