Chairman’s address meeting of members of Westfield America Trust
29 April 2002
Countries: United States
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. It gives me great pleasure to welcome you here today to this meeting of the Members of Westfield America Trust.
Before I turn to the business of the meeting, I would like to say a few brief words about the Trust’s investments, and as usual, I will be happy to take questions at the conclusion of the address.
This has been a very active time for the Trust. Last week we finalised the Jacobs transaction in which we acquired nine new centres for our US portfolio for A$1.45 billion.
The Jacobs portfolio covers 900,000 square metres of retail space in six US States, with 36 anchor stores and more than 1100 specialty shops.
After the completion of the RNA transaction later this week, a total of 22 new centres will be added to the Westfield America portfolio, taking our total number to 61 and putting us well and truly in the mainstream of the US shopping centre industry.
The two deals will increase the number of clusters of Westfield centres from 6 to 11, providing greater branding and leasing opportunities, and giving us a more even spread of properties between the West Coast, Mid West and East Coast.
Importantly, we had identified approximately A$2.8 billion of redevelopment work over 5 to 10 years in the two portfolios and after further detailed investigation of the properties over the past few months we are even more confident this potential can be realised.
World Trade Center
In relation to the World Trade Center there is nothing new of significance to report. However I can reiterate that some of the insurance issues have crystalised favourably and the remainder are continuing on track.
We remain confident that Westfield America’s insurance is adequate to protect its initial investment and to reimburse it for business interruption.
The rebuilding process for the World Trade Center is complex and will take some time to resolve and we will of course keep you informed of developments.
Ladies and gentlemen, in November last year I foreshadowed our intention to adopt a board structure for Westfield America Trust where the majority of external directors were independent of Westfield Holdings.
Earlier today, I announced that a number of highly respected business figures from both Australia and the United States have accepted an invitation to join the board of Westfield America Trust. I should point out that the executive directors of Westfield Holdings will remain on the Board of Westfield America Trust while all non-executive directors will resign from the board of Westfield America Trust to make way for the new directors I am about to announce. This will take effect at the end of May and result in 4 executive directors and 5 independent external directors.
The new directors of Westfield America Trust are: Ms Jillian Broadbent, Mr Bob Mansfield and Mr Herman Huizinga.
In addition, two other distinguished business figures who are based in the US will join the board. They are Mr Fay Vincent and Mr Roy Furman.
We have two of the new directors here with us today – Jillian Broadbent and Bob Mansfield – and I’d like to acknowledge them, as well as the external members of our Compliance Committee, Mr John Studdy and Mr Michael Braham.
These people bring a wealth of experience to our Group and will complement the existing Board, which is already acknowledged as being among the very best in Australia.
A paper containing brief biographical details of the new directors will be available outside at the end of the meeting.
I would like to thank the new directors, personally and on behalf of all investors, for agreeing to join the Westfield Group and we welcome them most warmly.