Charter Hall Office REIT trading halted as it awaits higher Macquarie offer

The Charter Hall Office REIT remains in a trading halt ahead of announcement from a Macquarie Group-led consortium of a revised higher offer for the listed property trust.

Share trading in the REIT was suspended at $3.42 a share on Friday pending the release of an ASX announcement by the trust and will remain suspended until tomorrow morning or until the announcement about the offer is released to the market.

The Macquarie Group-led consortium, which includes the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board and the trust’s head stock Charter Hall, offered $2.39 per share (equating to $1.74 billion) on August 29 for the $1.5 billion Australian portfolio. (It also offered $1.13 per share for the expected capital return from the sale of US assets.)

On October 5, the consortium raised its offer to $2.43 per share for the Australian portfolio with shareholders entitled to the proceeds from the US assets sale. The improved offer equated to a discount of 4.9% to the gross value of the assets held in the portfolio as of June 30, 2011.

The trust’s independent director committee advised shareholders that the current offer was not adequate and said it would provide the consortium with further due diligence material to assist it in improving its offer.

Earlier this year the REIT’s Charter Hall management team escaped a bid by a consortium of US hedge funds, which hold 20% of the trust, to replace it with a team from Moss Capital Funds Management.

The Charter Office Hall REIT owns and manages 19 properties in Australia with a combined value of $1.5 billion. Assets include 50% of the Citigroup Centre and No.1 Martin Place in the Sydney CBD and 100% ownership of the Argus Centre and 150 Lonsdale Street in Melbourne.

It is continuing to sell down its US portfolio with a further two offices in New Jersey and Atlanta being sold in recent months reducing its current holding to 12 properties.




Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer


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