Written on the 23 February 2016


SHOPPING centre operator Scentre Group (ASX:SCG) plans to increase its stake in Carindale Property Trust (ASX:CDP), despite the Brisbane-based business reporting a 43.8 per cent decline in half-year profit.

Carindale Property Trust (CPT) posted a profit of $15.3 million in the six months ending December, down from $27.3 million a year earlier.

Property revenue improved 1.9 per cent to $28.3 million, driven by the trust's 50 per cent investment in Westfield Carindale. The shopping centre is 99.5 per cent leased and recorded retail sales of $914.6 million last calendar year.

Scentre Group has signalled intentions to increase its investment in CPT in the 'near term', subject to prevailing market conditions.

The group develops and owns Westfield-branded shopping centres in Australia and New Zealand.

"Scentre Group considers that the acquisition of further units in CDP, particularly in the current market environment, represents an attractive investment opportunity," the company says in a statement.

Westfield Carindale was valued at $1.5 billion at the end of 2015, with CPT's share worth $767.6 million.

The announcement comes on the back of solid full-year results for Scentre Group, with a raft of store openings and redevelopments.

Assets under management totalled $42.1 billion, following openings at Chatswood, Hurtsville, Kotara and North Lakes (pictured) last year.

The group is set to capitalise on its $425 million share of developments at Chermside and the second stage of North Lakes this year.

The merger of Westfield Retail Trust and Westfield Group's Australian and New Zealand management business to form Scentre Group in the middle of 2014 hit its bottom line.

Net profit fell 58 per cent to $2.7 billion compared to a year earlier, while strong underlying performance offset the impact of the restructure on funds from operations (FFO) with a 3.8 per cent lift to $1.2 billion or 20.9 cents per security distributed.

Scentre Group chairman Frank Lowy says the results demonstrate the strength of the group's portfolio, particularly after merger.

"Scentre Group's preeminent portfolio and unique market position have provided a strong operating performance and excellent returns for security-holders since the group was established as a separate entity," Lowy says.

Scentre Group forecasts FFO growth for the end of this year to be up 3 per cent and distribution to increase to 21.3 cents per security.

Carindale Property Trust will pay a distribution of 19.6 cents per unit to members on February 29, with forecast FFO expected to be up to 14 per cent for FY16.







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