Centuria Goes Unconditional on Augusta Takeover


Centuria Capital has completed a $NZ169 million (A$159 million) friendly takeover of New Zealand fund manager Augusta Capital following long-standing negotiations.

ASX-listed Centuria said assets under management would increase by $1.9 billion, or 24 per cent, to $8.9 billion through the acquisition of Augusta, a property management platform with heavy exposure to the strong Auckland commercial property market.

The cross-Tasman cash-and-scrip, which Centuria had considered for “some time” had been tempered over recent months by the on-going pandemic chilling confidence in global property markets.

Centuria which had previously secured a 23.3 per cent stake in Augusta, raised a further $80 million at the time, but then paused its takeover bid.

On 30 June, Centuria varied its offer by increasing the cash component from 20c to 22c per Augusta share.

The scrip component of 0.392 Centuria stapled securities per Augusta share remained unchanged.

▲ Centuria's strategic acquisition will now increase its exposure to New Zealands commercial property taking advantage of a global low-rate, low-yield environment.
▲ Centuria's strategic acquisition will now increase its exposure to New Zealands commercial property taking advantage of a global low-rate, low-yield environment.

Joint chief executives, and fellow New Zealanders, John McBain and Jason Huljich said the nearly two-thirds of Augusta shares had been secured within eight business days after pressing go on the takeover.

“Augusta is a substantial player in the New Zealand market with a highly effective team,” McBain said.

Centuria said it had remained focused on investment opportunities beyond Covid-19, noting Augusta had impressive growth credentials.

“We anticipate this market to be an important growth engine within the Centuria platform.”

“Moreover, given the relative strength of the Australian commercial market, Centuria’s position in the S&P/ASX 300 and our strong distribution history, we are excited to welcome so many Augusta shareholders taking up Centuria scrip.”

The move follows a similar deal landed by Centuria four years ago, landing a substantial slice of 360 Capital Group, a real estate platform established by Tony Pitt, in a $290 million deal.

Last year the ASX-listed fund manager seized a controlling stake in Heathley, a private investment house that manages a healthcare real estate portfolio.

Its latest acquisition Augusta currently manages real estate across both countries and in October 2019 signed a contract for a billion-dollar mixed-use development in Queenstown in partnership with Australian developer Ninety Four Feet.

The proposed takeover was supported by Augusta’s founding shareholders Mark Francis and Bryce Barnett together with Centuria’s shareholding.

Francis, Barnett and other Augusta shareholders represented 42.2 per cent of Augusta’s total shares.

The move by Centuria follows a deal last year by Australian non-bank lender MaxCap which broke into the New Zealand market to drum up funds for local development projects.

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