Westfield Group plans spinoff of Australia, New Zealand units
Westfield Group said it intends to spin off its businesses in Australia and New Zealand from its global retail assets. The shopping mall giant said it will merge the Australian and New Zealand assets with Westfield Retail Trust or WRT to create a new firm.
A Reuters report said the separation happens at a time when traditional retailers in Australia are contending with a slowdown in growth and a shift to Internet shopping. This will also enable Westfield Group to concentrate on its international assets in the US and the UK.
Platypus Asset Management Chief Investment Officer Donald Williams told Reuters, "The international portfolio is the only place that they are going to get growth. The Australian market for them is going to be tough and it's getting harder and harder for them to gouge tenants."
In a joint statement, new companies New Zealand and Australia's Scentre Group and the international portfolio represented by Westfield Corp said they will be listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. The two new firms will also have their own separate boards and managements. They will still hold the Westfield brand on their shopping malls, with Westfield Chairman Frank Lowy serving as the chairman of both companies.
In a statement, Lowy said, "Westfield's international business and its Australian/NZ business have both grown in scale and quality to the stage wherethey can now stand on their own."
The total assets of Westfield Corp will amount to USD 17.6 billion, which includes the interests it holds in 44 centers in the US, The UK and Europe. Some of the assets are Westfield London and Stratford City, also in London as well as the Westfield World Trade Center in New York. Meanwhile, the assets of the new Scentre Group will total AUD 28.5 billion or USD 26 billion. It has 47 shopping centers in Australia and New Zealand.