Augusta profit up 116% after revenue boost and cost drop
/ Augusta News


Augusta Capital pushed net after-tax profit up 116 per cent from $3.2 million last year to $6.9m this year after operating costs fell and revenue rose.

The business, which manages funds owning about 100 properties valued at $1.95b and was listed in 2006, has declared its annual profit for the year to March 31, 2019.

Revenue rose from $18.9m to $22m, EBITDA rose from $5.7m to $7.7m and shareholders who last year got 6cps will this year get 6.5cps. Operating costs fell from $2.9m last year to $2m this year.

Mark Francis, managing director, said Augusta was New Zealand's largest property specialist fund manager listed on the sharemarket. It manages about 70 funds, including a number of syndicates, many of which are single-property asset businesses.

On April 5, Augusta announced it was in a consortium formed with Ninety Four Feet and Britomart Hospitality Group, picked by the Queenstown Lakes District Council as the preferred bidder to develop the council's Lakeview site in the resort town.

The consortium and the council entered into exclusive negotiations over that project last month.

Forsyth Barr Research said last month that Augusta Capital was making good progress changing its business model from owning properties itself via direct property investment to funds management.

The key focus for Augusta was getting its balance sheet utilised so it could replace the rental income lost from property sales, it noted.

"Recent periods have shown record activity levels, and growing earnings off this high base is challenging. We are confident of management's ability to transition Augusta to being solely a funds management company over time, albeit earnings will have some
volatility through this transitional phase. Augusta's fund's management business makes it very different from the other listed property vehicles and gives it less capital intensive growth prospects, albeit at higher risk," Forsyth Barr Research said.

It listed in December 2006 as Kermadec Property Fund but in March 2012, it bought the funds management businesses from Augusta Funds Management and internalised its management structure.

In April 2014, it bought KCL Property for $15m, which increased total property under management by about $750m to around $1.6bn.

Augusta is now changing its business to focus solely on funds management by selling its directly owned properties.

Forsyth Barr listed risk factors to its business as an economic slowdown, rising interest rates, or a decrease in investor sentiment.