Lederer turns focus to real estate investment trusts

6 October 2016

Lederer turns focus to real estate investment trusts
Publication: AFR
Sydney, 6 October 2016


How the rich invest.

BRW Rich Lister Paul Lederer has made some recent moves into the listed real estate investment trust scene, just less than two years after the sale of his Prime Smallgoods business to Brazilian firm JBS in late 2014.

That deal was worth $1.45 billion and meant Lederer walked away from the firm he and his family had built over three decades into one of Australia’s largest private companies.

Since then, Lederer had formed his own family office, Lederer Group, to look after his investments. Most of these are found in the property sector, and have long included regional shopping centres and commercial buildings around NSW in towns such as Goulburn.

One big investment in particular is Gosford Live on the NSW central coast, a $650 million mixed-use development in the centre of Gosford that will take 15 to 20 years to build on a 5.8-hectare site and include apartments, retail and commercial properties.

Lederer also has listed property trust investments, having been a substantial shareholder of CenturiaMetropolitan REIT since 2014. Centuria, which owns suburban office blocks in many states and buildings in the Adelaide and Canberra CBDs, was earlier this year locked in an unsuccessful battle with Growthpoint Properties Australia in a tussle to take over the $315 million GPT Metro Office Fund. Centuria is on the lookout for acquisitions, and its units are up about 12 per cent since the beginning of the year.

Lederer also emerged in June as a substantial shareholder in the Australian Unity Office Property Fund, paying about $18 million for a 6.6 per cent stake in the fund when it floated on the ASX. Since then, the fund has risen from its $2 issue price to trade about $2.13 per unit. The fund has office block investments in the CBD and suburban centres around the country.

While he is concentrating on property, Lederer still has some private investments in the food manufacturing sector even after the Prime sale. The Lederer Group owns Tomkin Australia, which supplies cookware and dining ware to the hospitality industry, and Tuscany Cheese, a cheese and dairy products producer.

But perhaps Lederer’s favourite investment is the A-League soccer club Western Sydney Wanderers, of which he is chairman, after leading the consortium that paid Football Federation Australia $10 million for the club in 2014.

The team is yet to win an A-League grand final since it was founded in 2014, having lost three season-deciders. Despite its lack of domestic success, it has won the Asian Champions League and a crowd of more than 60,000 is expected to attend its first match of the 2016-17 season on Saturday against cross-town rival Sydney FC.