Charter Hall Retail REIT Annual Unitholders Meeting 2015 - Presentation and Chair’s address
Good morning. On behalf of the Board of Directors it is my pleasure to welcome you all to the 2015 Annual Unitholders Meeting of Charter Hall Retail REIT.
My name is John Harkness and I am the Chair of the Charter Hall Retail REIT.
Could I request that you now take a moment to ensure that your mobile phones are switched to silent for the duration of this meeting.
It is now 10:00am, and as the necessary quorum is present, I declare this meeting properly constituted and open.
This afternoon, I will provide a brief overview of our business and achievements during FY15.
Fund Manager, Scott Dundas, will then provide an update on our business and key results as well as provide an outlook for financial year 2016.
We will then move to the formal business of the meeting and the resolutions for your consideration.
Unitholders holding a yellow or red attendance card will have the opportunity to ask questions as we address each item of business listed in the Notice of Meeting. Visitors with blue attendance cards are not permitted to ask questions during this meeting.
At the conclusion of the meeting we look forward to joining you for refreshments outside the Boardroom.
Today’s meeting is being recorded and will be shown as a delayed webcast on our website.
Board of Directors
I would now like to introduce my fellow Board members:
- Alan Rattray-Wood, Independent Director and a member of the Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee.
- Maurice Koop, Independent Director, Chair of the Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee.
- Scott Dundas, CQR Fund Manager, someone who I am sure you are all familiar with. Scott oversees the management of CQR and has been responsible for the strategic direction of the fund with a continued focus on active asset management, enhanced portfolio quality and prudent capital management.
- David Harrison, Joint Managing Director Charter Hall
- David Southon, Joint Managing Director Charter Hall. The Joint Managing Director’s are responsible for the formulation and implementation of the Group’s strategy.
- Finally, I would like to introduce Ms Sue Palmer. Sue joins the Board as an Independent Director following a search conducted on behalf of the Charter Hall Group and CQR Boards. Sue’s appointment to CQR is consistent with an orderly phase of Board renewal. With the impending retirement of Independent Director, Mr Maurice Koop in the first half of 2016, it is intended that Ms Palmer will replace Mr Koop as Audit Committee Chair at that time.
- Ms Palmer brings extensive financial and commercial experience from a career which has spanned a range of industry sectors in Australia and Asia, including construction, mining, property development, energy, infrastructure and agriculture.
- Sue is a highly regarded strategic operator at both a board and executive level and it’s my pleasure to be welcoming her to the Board.
Also present today and I welcome:
- Mark Bryant, our Company Secretary; and
- Jane Reilly, from our Auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers, who will be available to answer any questions about their audit of the financial statements from Unitholders.
I will now proceed with my Chair’s address, providing a short overview of our activities and focus during FY15.
Our vision, purpose and goal
November 2015 marks CQR’s 20 year anniversary since listing on the Australian Securities Exchange, a period which has seen us evolve into a leading ASX 200 listed REIT.
Our goal is to be the pre-eminent owner and manager of Australian neighbourhood and sub- regional supermarket anchored shopping centres.
Today we offer investors’ exposure to a $2.3 billion high quality portfolio of supermarket anchored shopping centres that benefits from exposure to key markets across a number of growth regions in Australia.
Our proven strategy remains focused on active asset management, enhanced portfolio quality and prudent capital management. This has seen the REIT continue to deliver a secure and growing income stream to our unitholders.
Sound total securityholder returns
Delivering on this strategy, I am pleased to report that CQR delivered a sound result for Financial Year 2015, declaring a full year distribution of 27.50 cents per unit up 0.7% on FY14.
With a focused and disciplined use of capital, we were able to deliver operating earnings of 29.7 cents per unit or $110.8 million and stable performance across our portfolio delivering an increase in the portfolio value by 15.2% to $2.3 billion.
With a focus on optimising returns for our investors we believe financial year 2016 will be another very active year for the REIT. We will continue to work with tenants to deliver enjoyable shopping centre experiences while focusing on leasing and development to maximise property returns for unitholders.
Managing our Australian Portfolio
Charter Hall Retail REIT is one of the largest owners of high quality supermarket anchored shopping centres. With a national portfolio of 75 centres, we have been actively managing and enhancing our portfolio to maintain a stable portfolio occupancy of 98.4%.
Key to the active asset management approach that our national retail team of experts take is maintaining strong tenant relationships to optimise tenancy mix through proactive leasing and enhancing the overall shopper experience.
This active management approach saw our team complete 122 lease renewals and 185 new specialty tenant leases during FY15, including our first two Aldi supermarket transactions in new developments at Secret Harbour in Western Australia and Southgate Plaza in South Australia.
Portfolio Acquisitions and Enhancements
We have continued to enhance the quality of the portfolio through strategic acquisitions and divestments, recycling out of non-core properties into larger assets with forecast higher growth characteristics.
We acquired four supermarket anchored shopping centres, two post balance date, for $192.0 million at an average yield of 7.2%. These acquisitions were primarily funded using proceeds from the sale of a number of non-core retail properties and a $50 million institutional placement, completed in August 2015.
All centres – Coomera Square in Queensland, Brickworks Marketplace in SA, Goulburn Plaza in New South Wales and Katherine Central in the Northern Territory are located in high growth corridors or operate as the primary shopping centre in the region, and are within the REITs investment criteria.
Value enhancing redevelopments will always be a key element of our growth strategy and during FY15 we completed two major redevelopments at Caboolture Square in Queensland and Lansell Square in Victoria resulting in enhanced and expanded shopping environments for our tenants and customers.
Prudent Capital Management
Given the REIT’s focus on financial management, strong balance sheet and liquidity, we are well positioned to capitalise on acquisition and redevelopment opportunities as they arise, following a number of significant capital management initiatives during the year.
2015 has been a very active year with the REIT repositioning its funding platform to enhance flexibility and scalability of its debt platform, whilst also minimising costs.
Capital partnerships were a key focus for the REIT and a number of key capital management initiatives have been completed which Scott Dundas will discuss during his business update.
Sustainability is a core part of how we enhance value and manage risk across the business model. Last year we participated in Charter Hall Group’s review of its approach to Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability.
As part of this review, Charter Hall Retail REIT aligned its sustainability aspirations with its three business strategy pillars: Product, Performance and Partner.
We have identified a number of key commitments in FY16 that we are focused on, including providing innovative and sustainable products for our investors, customers and communities; to drive sustainable returns for our investors and people and to be a trusted and valued partner to all of our stakeholders.
Close of Meeting
In closing today’s meeting I would like to acknowledge the loyalty that our investors, partners, Unitholders and tenant customers have shown us, in some cases over 20 years, allowing the business to grow and prosper.
I would also like to acknowledge Deputy Fund Manager, Philip Schretzmeyer who will be taking on a new role as Group Treasurer of Charter Hall Group, effective from 1 January 2016. I am sure you would agree with me that Phil’s dedication and commitment to the REIT has been outstanding and on behalf of the Board and investors I wish Phil all the best in his new role.
Thank you for your attendance. I now call the meeting closed.