Westfield Holding profit up 17%

04 September 1997

Countries: Australia

Westfield Holdings Limited today announced increased profits forthe year to 30 June 1997, thereby continuing its unbroken record ofprofit increases over the last 37 years.

After-tax profit for the 1997 financial year was $87.7 million,up 17% on last year’s result of $74.9 million.

Earnings per share were also up 17% to 89.49 cents, comparedwith 76.45 cents last year.

The dividend pay-out for the year will be 44.7 cents per sharecompared with last year’s dividend of 38.2 cents per share. Thisyear’s final dividend of 23.8 cents per share (last year 20.3cents) will be paid on 25 September 1997. All these dividends are60% franked.

Profit before tax broke the $100 million barrier for the firsttime, increasing by 24% from $95.5 million in 1995/96 to $118.5million this year.

Sales revenue for 1996/97 was $488 million, an increase of 11.5%on the previous year’s figure of $438 million.

Westfield’s Managing Director, Corporate & International, MrDavid Lowy, said: “This result reflects a substantial increase inprofit from development, construction and management in Australiaand the US.”

The highlight of the year was the flotation of Westfield’s USshopping centre portfolio through the listing of vehicles on theAustralian and New York Stock Exchanges:

– Westfield America Trust (WAT) was listed on the ASX in July1996; and
– Westfield America, Inc. (WEA) – which is 51% owned by WAT – waslisted on the NYSE in May 1997.

A total of approximately US$800 million was raised in the twoofferings from investors in Australia, US and Europe. These listedentities, with their ability to access international capitalmarkets, provide a good basis for the expansion of the Group’sshopping centre business in the US.

“During the year, we also furthered our geographic expansion byestablishing operations in New Zealand with our appointment tomanage and develop 10 centres owned by the St Lukes Group”, Mr Lowysaid.

“Westfield’s management portfolio now comprises 66 shoppingcentres, valued at $11.8 billion, with 4 million square metres ofretail space and 9,300 retailers.”

The $200 million redevelopment of Marion Shoppingtown inAdelaide is near completion (with the final stage scheduled foropening in late 1997) as is stage two of the redevelopment ofGarden City at Mt Gravatt in Brisbane (scheduled to open in October1997) on behalf of the owner, AMP Society.

Two new projects are currently under way – at Tea Tree Plaza inAdelaide and Chatswood Shoppingtown in Sydney.

A $2 billion, medium-term development program is planned forWestfield centres in Australia to occur over the next five or sixyears. This program is being driven by strong demand from bothanchor tenants and specialty retailers and will ensure thatWestfield Shoppingtowns maintain their competitiveness in theirrespective market places.

In the United States, the second stage of the redevelopment ofGarden State Plaza in New Jersey was close to completion at the endof June. The total repositioning and redevelopment of MissionValley Mall in San Diego California was also complete and work wasunder way at South Shore Mall in Bayshore, New York.

During the year, Westfield added the contract to manage retailfacilities in Terminal C at Boston’s Logan International Airport toits two existing airport retail management projects at Dulles andNational Airports in Washington DC. All three airports have beenundergoing redevelopment, with their new retail facilitiesscheduled to open during the next 12 months.

“The development program for the US portfolio remains onschedule. Seventeen of the 23 properties owned by WEA have beenidentified for redevelopment, with seven projects expected to startwithin the next five years”, Mr Lowy said.

Work is continuing on the retail component of the Kuala LumpurCity Centre project in Malaysia in which Westfield Holdings has a10% equity interest. Westfield’s primary role in this project,which is expected to open for trading in mid-1998, relates to theleasing and management of the Centre. In addition, Westfield hasrecently been requested to provide project management resources forthe development.

Mr Lowy said the 1996/97 profit result reflected another strongperformance by the Group and he was confident that further profitgrowth should be continued in the coming year.
For further information please call: Wendy Guest 61 2 9358 7426 or61 419 414 753