melbourne central
GPT’s portfolio includes Melbourne Central which was particularly hit hard by the numerous lockdowns. Image – GPT Group.
  • $1.42B in net profit after tax was recorded during the 2021 calender year
  • Significant turnaround given the company reported a $213M net loss in 2020
  • Portfolio is increasing its weight towards logistics assets

The GPT Group (ASX: GPT), an owner, manager and commercial asset developer, has announced its half-yearly results, although the company’s financial year aligns with the calendar year.

Despite Covid disruptions – which resulted in a $213.2 million net loss after tax in 2020 – net profit after tax for 2021 was $1.42 billion, with their property valuation increasing by $924.3 million.

“GPT commenced 2021 with solid momentum however this was disrupted by the Delta outbreak of COVID-19 in the second half of the year,” said Bob Johnston, chief executive officer of GPT Group.

“Severe lockdown measures restricted trading activity and impacted the performance of our Retail portfolio, particularly during the third quarter. Despite these impacts the Group’s diversified portfolio generated a total return of 14.1% for the year.”

Mr Johnston noted that when restrictions eased during the fourth quarter, the rebound in customer visitations and sales benefited most of their retail assets.

Melbourne Central saw a boost in weekend traffic and sales, but said this relies on the reactivation of the Melbourne CBD. Along with office workers, students and tourists need to return, he said, echoing calls made by numerous stakeholders over the past year.

bob johnston
Bob Johnston of GPT Group. Image – Linkedin.

Along with Melbourne Central, GPT’s retail portfolio includes Highpoint in Maribyrnong and Westfield Penrith.

Logistics and office assets booming

In terms of GPT’s office and logistics assets, strong results were recorded, with the company eager to increase weighting towards this sector, which grew by $1.4 billion during the period with 98.8% occupancy.

“Logistics now represents approximately 27% of the Group’s property portfolio after several acquisitions and completion of developments in the period,” continued Mr Johnson.

“We also advanced the logistics partnership established with Quad Real Property Group, with GPT and QuadReal recently agreeing  to increase the capital commitment to $2 billion.”

Despite the disruptions, Mr Johnston is optimistic about the future, which includes the developer’s environmental, social and governance goals.

“Importantly, throughout the year we maintained our focus on ESG and delivering on our target to have all our managed assets independently certified as operating carbon neutral by the end of 2024.”

“While Omicron has been another recent setback to the recovery, we are optimistic that the worst is behind us with case numbers trending in the right direction, high vaccination rates and the need for restrictive measures diminishing.”

GPT’s board has declared a distribution of 9.9 cents per security for the six months to 31 December. This results in a 2021 full year distribution of 23.2 cents per security, representing a 95.1% distribution payout of free cash flow.

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