29 Dec 2014

NZ move into Australian retirement sector

7:24 pm on 29 December 2014

A New Zealand consortium is buying Australia's largest private retirement village operator in a deal worth $640 million.

Infratil Limited and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund are going halves on the sale and stumping up $215 million each.

The rest of the money will come from Retire Australia's existing bank debt.

Infratil chief executive officer, Marko Bogoievski, said the consortium had been watching the growing retirement sector in Australia for some time.

He said Retire Australia was a good leg in to the market, because of its strong asset base and experienced management team.

Mr Bogoievski said the over-65 populations in New Zealand and Australia were growing four times faster than the general population.

He said that could spur a move from traditional retirement villages to dense, apartment-style living and more affordable options.

New Zealand's Superannuation Fund says Australia will see more specifically-focused retirement operators open as the country's population ages.

The Superannuation Fund's chief investment officer, Matt Whineray said Australia's retirement industry would change to reflect an ageing population.

"A lot of the sector's been built by the larger property development companies, we've seen in New Zealand the likes of Ryman and Summerset and Metlifecare focus specifically on the sector and I think you'll probably see Australia trend that way as well."

Mr Whineray said his organisation knew the sector well and already had a stake in the New Zealand operators Metlifecare, Ryman Healthcare and Summerset.

The transaction should be settled by the end of the month.

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