Thursday, August 26, 2010

Direct Factory Outlet South Warf Rescue

LENDERS to Melbourne's troubled South Wharf Direct Factory Outlet shopping centre have stumped up $8 million.

The money will allow developer Austexx to complete the project ahead of the expected sale of the $1.5 billion DFO portfolio.

The payment, believed to have been agreed as part of last week's bank syndicate plan to refinance Austexx's $450m South Wharf debt, will be spent on finishing touches to the 50,000 sq m retail complex. It will also pay for part of the fit-out of the 12-level South Wharf office tower, about to be bought by German pension fund Deka Immobilien Investment for about $115m.

Austexx's four South Wharf bank lenders are the National Australia Bank, St George, Suncorp-Metway and Bank of Scotland International.

Although widely tipped last week to be ready to place the project into receivership -- which could have triggered the collapse of Austexx and the entire DFO chain -- the South Wharf bank lenders struck a rescue deal last Thursday, providing a lifeline until a buyer can be found for the centres.

Austexx did not return calls yesterday, but sources said about $11m of work was outstanding at South Wharf. However, about $2.5m of this involves head contractor Contexx, which completed the project three months ahead of schedule in September last year and has a month to go before its 12-month defect liability period expires.

Most of the outstanding Contexx work involves construction along the Yarra River, which had to be deferred because of work on Melbourne's new main sewer.

For Austexx , which is believed to be planning to move its 580 St Kilda Road offices to the South Wharf complex, the most pressing work is to complete part of the fit-out of the office tower, which is leased by ANL Container Line, Kraft Foods, LeasePlan and Baulderstone.

Meanwhile, all South Wharf industrial bans have been lifted after construction unions last week agreed a deal with Austexx in which more than $1m outstanding would be paid in stages to more than 10 sub-contractors and about 30 employees, some of whom had not been paid for a month. Some $380,000 is believed to have been owed for electrical work, $300,000 for plastering and $300,000 for tiling. Contexx has paid all but one of its suppliers and sub-contractors in full.

SOURCE: Maurice Dunlevy From: The Australian August 26, 2010

No comments:

Post a Comment