ING and Urbus look to merge

Monday 4 October 2004

The proposed merger of listed trust ING and listed property company Urbus would create the second-biggest listed property entity by market capitalisation with assets of $717 million, immediately behind the largest player, Kiwi Income Property Trust.

By The Landlord

In keeping with its earlier growth strategy, ING has chosen to expand by acquiring portfolios of managed funds rather than individual property acquisitions. In June, ING Property Management (the manager of the listed trust) bought the management rights to the Urbus portfolio and it is the most substantial shareholder in Urbus with 8.97%, suggesting that it may be in a strong position to achieve the merger, which would propel the company into the NZX50.

Details about the merger have yet to be revealed and analysts will be keen to learn about its gearing. The portfolio of the merged entity would be weighted 75% in Auckland, 12% Wellington, 6% Hamilton and 7% in other locations. Retail properties would be 36% of the portfolio, commercial office 33% and 31% industrial.

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