"INVESTA SHUT THE DOOR IN OUR FACE" SAYS CROMWELL CEO

Written on the 25 August 2017 by David Simmons

"INVESTA SHUT THE DOOR IN OUR FACE" SAYS CROMWELL CEO

WHILE announcing the FY17 results for Cromwell Property Group (ASX: CMW), Chief Executive Officer Paul Weightman (pictured) had a chance to elaborate on the failed takeover attempt of Investa Office Fund (ASX: IOF).

In April 2017 Cromwell offered $4.85 a share in an unsolicited non-binding proposal to acquire all unites in IOF, a total value of $3 billion.

IOF's first deal in November 2016 fell through spectacularly. Investa claimed the offer was not funded and Cromwell accusing IOF of failing to provide any details of its financial position.

Elaborating on the ongoing saga, Cromwell CEO Paul Weightman says the negotiations were anything but friendly.

"We had the door shut in our face," says Weightman.

"We've approached the board, but the board shut off access to the data room."

"Regardless of the price we offer we're unlikely to gain access to negotiations."

Cromwell currently own around 10 per cent of IOF securities meaning it is the largest security holder, however Weightman says Cromwell's only options now are to sit and wait, sell, or undertake a hostile takeover.

He says a hostile takeover is unlikely as Cromwell is still pushing for a friendly negotiation.

"It is a difficult exercise to undertake a hostile takeover," says Weightman.

"If you can't negotiate a friendly transaction the alternative are either sit there, sell your stake, or go hostile."

In other news, Cromwell has announced its eligibility to list European assets on the Singaporean Stock Exchange, however due to legal restrictions the company was unable to comment further.

For FY17 Cromwell Property Group reported full year operating profit of $152.2 million.

"This was a very good result especially when you consider we had exceptionally strong one-off transactional income in FY16," says Weightman.

The company, which manages office buildings, saw an occupancy rate of 92.1 per cent for FY17, up from 89.7 per cent in FY16.

The group's portfolio is now worth over $10 billion globally and contains more than 330 properties, housing more than 3,600 tenants in 3.9 million square metres of office space.

Looking to the future, Weightman says any number of factors could impact the global real estate markets.

"Global risks remain high. A Chinese economic slowdown and/or capital retreat, conflict over North Korea, and the outcome of Brexit negotiations are amongst a number of issues which could impact global real estate markets," says Weightman.

At the time of writing Cromwell shares are up 1.6 per cent to $0.95.

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Author: David Simmons

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