Written on the 2 March 2015 by Nick Nichols


THE sale of four development sites worth $90 million has led Sunland to boost its annual profit forecast by 40 per cent to $28 million.

The news, aided by a 6c special dividend and the early payment of the final dividend, propelled Sunland's shares 15 per cent higher today to a peak of $1.995.

It has also paved the way for the company to turn its attention to the rising opportunities in south-east Queensland's resurgent property market as it lays plans for a number of capital-intensive high rise projects in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

The latest asset sales have been offset by acquisitions totalling $97 million in the previous half year, marked by a renewed focus on Sunland's traditional home market of the Gold Coast which accounted for $79 million of these new acquisitions.

The Brisbane-based property developer has sold the 33.4ha Adresse urban land development in Point Cook, south-west of Melbourne, to Stockland Group for $66.2 million in an unconditional deal.

The 470-lot project was launched by Sunland last year and would have taken four years to complete, but according to managing director Sahba Abedian (pictured) the Stockland offer was too good to refuse.

"We acquired the site very well, we had an offer that was very strong very favourable and we felt that it made great sense for the group to pursue the path we did," says Abedian.

Abedian says Sunland is not easing its focus on southern markets as there are no signs of a slowdown yet, with the company still actively pursuing opportunities there.

"But we also have great confidence in south-east Queensland because the southern markets have experienced very strong growth."

In Brisbane, Sunland has started construction on the $220 million Abian apartment tower and it is expecting approvals this month for its proposed $500 million three-tower redevelopment of the former ABC studios at Toowong.

On the Gold Coast, it is planning 1400 apartments on the high-profile Lakeview site at Broadbeach Waters, and it is also firming up plans for a signature development at Mariner's Cove on the Broadwater.

"When you look at the scale of some of these projects and the intensity of capital that is required, these sales just allow us to be more strategic with the portfolio," says Abedian.

The sale of Adresse to Stockland will settle in two tranches, with the first instalment of $10 million due on settlement next week and the balance in May.

A further $23.9 million in sales, including Meliah in Sydney's North Kellyville (sold for $15 million) and Vayle in Melbourne's University Hill (sold for $7.8 million), will settle between March and April. A small site in Ballarat has also been contracted for $1.1 million.

Sunland, which last Friday posted an interim net profit of $3.3 million, had been targeting a full-year bottom line of about $20 million in FY15. The company now expects that to surge to $28 million due entirely to the asset sales.

Shareholders will receive a 6c special dividend, to be paid on May 27. The payout is attributed to both the asset sales and the release of accumulated franking credits.

An additional 2c special dividend will be paid on June 25, representing the early payment of the company's final dividend, which is usually paid in September.

The special dividends comes on top of the 2c interim dividend declared last week and bring Sunland's total payout for FY15 to 10c a share.

Author: Nick Nichols





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