Valuer Acumentis predicts rise in distressed sales

Original article by Michael Bleby
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 32 : 30-Oct-20

Listed valuation firm Acumentis has reported revenue of $13.4 million for the September quarter, compared with just $8.4 million for the entire 2019-20 financial year. The firm has posted a pre-tax profit of $1.6 million for the quarter. Acumentis notes that it is benefiting from an improvement in residential activity, while it predicts an increase in forced home sales as JobKeeper payments and mortgage repayment deferral periods end.

CORPORATES
ACUMENTIS GROUP LIMITED – ASX ACU

Companies fight for access to JobKeeper wage scheme

Original article by Michael Bleby
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 32 : 23-Apr-20

Many companies in the property sector meet the turnover reduction thresholds for the JobKeeper scheme, but their corporate restructure means they may be ineligible. Such companies are split into an operating arm that generates income and a services arm that actually employs their staff, but the turnover test will be applied to each entity separately. These structures are widely used by companies such as retail property managers and student accommodation providers. Operators of retirement villages may also be ineligible for the scheme.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE, PROPERTY COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED, LENDLEASE GROUP – ASX LLC, STOCKLAND – ASX SGP, MERITON APARTMENTS PTY LTD

Embattled Purplebricks to quit Australian market

Original article by Larry Schlesinger
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 29 : 8-May-19

UK-based online real estate agent Purplebricks has advised that its Australian operations will be discontinued, citing factors such as challenging market conditions. Purplebricks entered the local market in September 2016, with co-founder and global CEO Michael Bruce forecasting that the Australian business would succeed. However, its fixed-fee sales model proved to be problematic for real estate agents, particularly given the downturn in the housing market.

CORPORATES
PURPLEBRICKS AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, PURPLEBRICKS GROUP PLC, UBS HOLDINGS PTY LTD

Veteran McGrath quits REA Group board

Original article by Robyn Ironside
The Australian – Page: 13 & 18 : 18-Jan-18

REA Group has advised that real estate agent John McGrath has stepped down as a director of the online property listings group. McGrath is said to have resigned from REA’s board for personal reasons, and Gareth James of Morningstar says it would not be a surprise if McGrath chose to focus on his real estate business. McGrath Limited’s profits and share price fell sharply in 2017, prompting speculation that it could delist from the stock exchange. John McGrath was on the REA board for almost 19 years, and he owns $A10.9m worth of shares in the group.

CORPORATES
REA GROUP LIMITED – ASX REA, McGRATH LIMITED – ASX MEA, REALESTATE.COM.AU, MORNINGSTAR PTY LTD, CORELOGIC AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Lendlease tops up pool to close pay gap

Original article by Turi Condon
The Australian – Page: 19 & 23 : 26-Jul-17

Lendlease CEO Steve McCann says companies need to constantly monitor salaries to combat the gender pay. Lendlease has increased its salary pool in recent years to ensure pay equity, and the company has been actively monitoring the salaries of male and female workers in comparable roles since 2014. Meanwhile, the Property Male Champions of Change has advised that the gender balance in leadership roles at its member organisations rose to 30 per cent in 2016-17, compared with 22.1 per cent in 2014-15.

CORPORATES
LEND LEASE GROUP LIMITED – ASX LLC, PROPERTY MALE CHAMPIONS OF CHANGE, DEXUS PROPERTY GROUP – ASX DXS, STOCKLAND – ASX SGP, MIRVAC GROUP – ASX MGR, SCENTRE GROUP – ASX SCG, SAVILLS (AUST) HOLDINGS PTY LTD, CUSHMAN AND WAKEFIELD PTY LTD, FRASERS PROPERTY GROUP, JONES LANG LASALLE AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, CHARTER HALL GROUP – ASX CHC, GPT GROUP – ASX GPT, BRITISH BROADCASTING CORPORATION

Fairfax steps up Domain hard sell

Original article by Scott Murdoch
The Australian – Page: 24 : 10-Jul-17

Domain is losing market share to REA Group in some markets, which may make it harder for Fairfax Media directors to convince shareholders to back a proposed demerger of the property listings business. Demergers also have a chequered history in Australia. Analysis by Credit Suisse in 2015 shows that spin-offs generally perform well in their first six months as a separately-listed company, while there is typically no significant benefit for shareholders of the parent company during this period.

CORPORATES
FAIRFAX MEDIA LIMITED – ASX FXJ, DOMAIN.COM.AU, REA GROUP LIMITED – ASX REA, CREDIT SUISSE (AUSTRALIA) LIMITED, TRADE ME GROUP LIMITED – ASX TME, APN NEWS AND MEDIA LIMITED – ASX APN, NZME LIMITED – ASX NZM, AUSTRALIAN RADIO NETWORK PTY LTD, ADSHEL PTY LTD, NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, BHP BILLITON LIMITED – ASX BHP, SOUTH32 LIMITED – ASX S32, AMCOR LIMITED – ASX AMC, PAPERLINX LIMITED – ASX PPX, ARRIUM LIMITED – ASX ARI, BLUESCOPE STEEL LIMITED – ASX BSL, CSR LIMITED – ASX CSR, RINKER GROUP LIMITED, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, BT INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT LIMITED – ASX BTT, TABCORP HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX TAH, THE STAR ENTERTAINMENT GROUP LIMITED – ASX SGR, WESTFIELD CORPORATION – ASX WFD, SCENTRE GROUP – ASX SCG, TREASURY WINE ESTATES LIMITED – ASX TWE, TPG CAPITAL LP, HELLMAN AND FRIEDMAN, MORGAN STANLEY AUSTRALIA LIMITED, MACQUARIE CAPITAL PTY LTD

Expansion takes REA into mortgage broking

Original article by Michael Roddan
The Australian – Page: 21 : 28-Jun-17

Australian-listed REA Group will pay $A67m for an 80 per cent stake in mortgage broker Smartline. REA, which owns the realestate.com.au property listings business, has also established a partnership with National Australia Bank to provide mortgage broking services and realestate.com.au-branded home loans. REA forecasts that the acquisition of Smartline and the alliance with NAB will boost group revenue by $A26m to $A30m in fiscal 2018.

CORPORATES
REA GROUP LIMITED – ASX REA, REALESTATE.COM.AU, SMARTLINE HOME LOANS PTY LTD, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, CHOICE HOME LOANS

Fairfax investors back Domain spin-off, but want more of it

Original article by James Thomson, John Stensholt
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 11 & 16 : 22-Feb-17

Shares in Fairfax Media were placed in a trading halt on 21 February 2017, pending an announcement by the group. It follows media reports which suggested that Fairfax may demerge its Domain property listings business but retain a stake of 60-70 per cent. Allan Gray Australia’s Simon Mawhinney and Fairfax shareholder Alex Waislitz support the demerger, although the latter says Fairfax should have acted much sooner. Fraser McLeish of Credit Suisse recently valued Domain at about $A2.2bn, based on its earnings forecast for 2018.

CORPORATES
FAIRFAX MEDIA LIMITED – ASX FXJ, DOMAIN.COM.AU, ALLAN GRAY AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, CREDIT SUISSE (AUSTRALIA) LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN PROPERTY MONITORS PTY LTD, REA GROUP LIMITED – ASX REA, STAN ENTERTAINMENT PTY LTD, MACQUARIE MEDIA LIMITED – ASX MRN, RSVP, WEATHERZONE, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, TRADE ME GROUP LIMITED – ASX TME

Confidence in property hits two-year high

Original article by Matthew Cranston
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 7 : 12-Jan-17

A survey by the ANZ Bank and the Property Council of Australia has found that confidence in the nation’s residential and commercial property markets has risen to its highest level in two years. The Property Confidence Index has risen by two points to 130 points for the March 2017 quarter, and Western Australia is the only state that has not recorded a rise in confidence. Interest rate expectations over the next 12 months have also risen significantly, particularly nationally and in New South Wales.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, PROPERTY COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, UNITED STATES. FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD, AUSTRALIAN BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION COMMISSION

REA spends $70m on passage to India’s vast property market

Original article by Daniel Palmer
The Australian – Page: 17 : 11-Jan-17

Australian-listed property listings company REA Group will lift its stake in PropTiger to 21 per cent after agreeing to pay $US50m ($A68m) for an additional 14.7 per cent stake in the company. PropTiger is one of India’s largest property listings groups, and its websites include proptiger.com and housing.com. REA, which owns realestate.com.au, recently flagged plans to focus on markets in Australia, Asia and North America.

CORPORATES
REA GROUP LIMITED – ASX REA, REALESTATE.COM.AU, PROPTIGER, NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS