27/09/2005 - 22:00

Henley subdivision next for WRF

27/09/2005 - 22:00

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Listed funds management group WRF Securities Ltd has gone where few companies have ventured before – out of the resources market and into property.

Listed funds management group WRF Securities Ltd has gone where few companies have ventured before – out of the resources market and into property.

Originally a mining company that diversified into the forestry sector, WRF launched its first property syndicate in 2001. Now, property is the main focus of the Perth-based business, which boasts more than 3,000 investors.

To date WRF has established nine unlisted property syndicates valued at $250 million, an unlisted property fund valued at $5 million, and a $21 million mortgage trust.

And it has recently made its first move into residential subdivision syndicates. A 40-hectare site in Henley Brook was bought this month for $12.5 million. It will be subdivided into 400 lots and marketed under the WRF Lifestyle brand.

WRF property managing director Owen Lennie said a second subdivision was planned for the southern suburbs of Perth this year.

“The residential property market in Perth hasn’t dipped like other capital cities. Land is still available and there are no oversupply problems,” he said.

“The unlisted property syndicate sector has more than doubled in the last five years and is now valued at over $13 billion. It is a very popular investment area for self-managed super funds.

“The unlisted sector is very reliable and there is a lack of volatility, which makes it popular with investors.”

After WRF delivered a 91 per cent increase in net profit to $3.6 million for the past financial year, further diversification into the mortgage business is planned for the group, according to managing director Rob Nichevich.

“We want to remain a boutique business, but we are looking for diversification that makes us different to other companies in the same area,” Mr Nichevich told WA Business News.

“We are targeting $350 million plus in funds under management for the next year.”

During the past financial year, WRF sold its Kangaroo Island forestry land to WA-based Great Southern Plan-tations for $6 million.

Mr Nichevich said forestry and property investments were an incompatible mix.

WRF also spun-off its mining business, AXG, while retaining a residual shareholding.

Marker researcher Aegis, in its April 2005 Emerging Companies Review, said WRF was in a sound financial position and well placed to grow the business.

“WRF has strong specialist skills in property management with an established record and a well regarded, highly experienced management team,” the report said.

“With demand for superannuation and retirement income products expected to grow rapidly, WRF is well placed to capitalise on this growth.”

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