GPT net profit more than doubles in FY

AAP, with a staff reporter

Diversified property group GPT Ltd has more than doubled its full year net profit and remains cautiously optimistic for further earnings growth in the year ahead.

GPT's net profit for the year to December 31 rose to $594.5 million, from $246.2 in 2011, thanks to a rise in the value of its property portfolio.

Revenue rose to $587.4 million from $573.8 million, while earnings per share (EPS) rose eight per cent.

GPT, which owns shopping centres, office properties and business parks across Australia, forecast earnings per share growth of at least five per cent this financial year.

Chief executive Michael Cameron said the result was driven by a $221.3 million increase in the value of the group's property assets, which offset a $40.4 million loss on derivatives.

"The outlook for 2013 is cautiously optimistic, with portfolio growth supported by high levels of structured rental increases and high occupancy," he said.

"We will build our development capability and continue to see additional growth in the business from the wholesale funds and through selective asset acquisitions.

"Finally, in the current low interest rate environment and given strong demand from institutional investors, we expect further signs of capitalisation rate improvement for prime assets."

The group in December made a takeover bid for the commercial property and development arms of rival Australand, which rejected the offer.

Mr Cameron said GPT would continue to pursue new profit sources in 2013.

GPT lifted its full year distribution to 19.3 cents per security, from 17.8 cents.

GPT committed to Australand deal

GPT remains committed to pursuing its bid to snare a major part of rival Australand Ltd's businesses.

GPT made a $3 billion takeover offer for two thirds of rival Australand's businesses last December, but was rebuffed.

Mr Cameron said an Australand offer was still in the works.

"We are committed to advancing a proposal that's going to be in the best interest of Australand and GPT security holders," he said.

However, he added that the deal was not essential to GPT meeting its future targets.

"We don't have to do a deal to achieve our objectives going forward," he said.

Australand's managing director Bob Johnston last week downplayed the prospect of a successful takeover bid, either from GPT or rival Mirvac.

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