15 Jul 2011

Argosy Property Trust cuts price of management deal

12:21 pm on 15 July 2011

Independent directors at Argosy Property Trust will ask unitholders to accept a $20 million payment to cancel its contract with ANZ Bank and bring the management of the property portfolio in-house.

Last month, Trevor Scott and Peter Brook said they would not pay a $32 million fee to end ANZ subsidiary OnePath's management of its portfolio, admitting investors will not accept it.

Mr Brook says the agreed $20 million price is cheaper than dismissing OnePath and putting a new manager in, and all the disruption that would cause.

OnePath director John Body says he still thinks the contract is worth $32.5 million, but is prepared to accept a lower price.

Grant Samuel will prepare an appraisal report on the proposed deal, but Mr Brook says the payment is likely to fall within the valuation range.

The report will also consider alternatives, including DNZ Property Fund's merger proposal.

Unitholders will get the chance to vote on the new deal at the annual meeting in late August, which requires the support of three-quarters of them.

Some of Argosy's institutional shareholders are still asking for a meeting to consider all options for Argosy, including a merger with DNZ Property Fund.

One of them, ACC, has welcomed the reduction in what it calls a fold handshake payment.

But it intends voting against the deal, saying the price is still too high.