Westfield Trust acquires stake in NZ’s St. Lukes Group

22 October 1998

Countries: New Zealand

Please note: On October 22, 1998, Westfield Trust announcedits intention to acquire a stake in the St Lukes Group in NewZealand. The transaction referred to in the following media releasewas completed on December 14, 1998.

Westfield Trust today announced that it proposes to acquire a46.6% interest in New Zealand’s premier shopping centre owner, theSt Lukes Group, from funds managed by BT Funds Management Limited(BT Funds).

Westfield Trust has given notice of this proposal to the NewZealand Stock Exchange in conformity with legal requirements andwill be seeking the required consent from the Overseas InvestmentCommission.

Westfield Trust proposes to acquire the interest at NZ$1.65 foreach share and convertible note for a total of NZ$326.3 million(approximately $A276 million). The proposed acquisition will befunded by a A$50 million placement of Westfield Trust units atA$3.11 per unit to BT Funds with the balance of approximately A$226million in borrowings.

This would result in the Trust’s total assets increasing fromA$4.4 billion to A$4.7 billion, with a gearing level ofapproximately 21%.

Westfield Managing Director, Mr Steven Lowy, said the proposedinvestment would have a positive impact on distributions toWestfield Trust unitholders.

The St Lukes Group has total assets of NZ$810 million and amarket capitalisation of NZ$700 million at $1.65 per share andconvertible note.

It owns the leading portfolio of shopping centres in NewZealand, comprising eight wholly-owned and two 50% owned, locatedin Auckland (7), Wellington (1), Hamilton (1) and Christchurch(1).

The centres have 202,000 square metres of lettable area,generated NZ$1.2 billion in retail sales and 60 million customervisits last year and include 791 specialty shops. They have ahistorically low vacancy rate of less than 1%.

Mr Lowy said the proposed investment in the St Lukes Grouprepresented about 6% of Westfield Trust’s total assets and wasconsistent with its long-term strategy of acquiring high qualityshopping centre assets with strong growth potential.

“We look forward to working closely with the board of the StLukes Group,” Mr Lowy said.