28 Oct 2016

Property company tries to force through $500m portfolio

8:52 pm on 28 October 2016

A tussle is emerging over listed property investment company NPT, with a rival property company pushing to create a combined portfolio worth half a billion dollars.

Augusta Capital, has proposed that it sells $329 million worth of property to NPT - formerly the National Property Trust - to create a combined portfolio of about $500m.

Augusta would buy out NPT's management contract, and would buy new shares that NPT would sell to fund the acquisitions.

It said the enlarged company would then expand its property holdings to earn greater returns than NPT had been making.

But Augusta said it had been rebuffed after it tried to put the proposal to NPT.

"Unsuccessful attempts to engage with the NPT chairman has left Augusta little choice but to seek change at the board level, so that its proposal can be put in front of NPT shareholders," Augusta said in a statement to the stock exchange.

Augusta owns more than 9 percent of NPT, and said it now wanted to have three of NPT's directors, including the chairman, replaced.

It said it had requested a special shareholder meeting.

NPT said it had yet to look at the proposal.

"I'm not in a position to comment at this stage until the board has had a chance to consider a response," NPT chief executive Tony Osborne told RNZ Business.

The companies' share prices moved in opposite directions in the wake of the announcement. NPT's price gained 2.9 percent to 70 cents, while Augusta's fell by the same amount to $1.01.