Immofinanz has sales leap, prepares Warsaw listing

VIENNA, March 20 Wed Mar 20, 2013 4:13pm EDT

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VIENNA, March 20 (Reuters) - Austrian property group Immofinanz said third-quarter property sales more than doubled as it shed assets including the Kempinski Grand Hotel in St Moritz, Switzerland.

Income from property sales was 42 million euros ($54 million) in the quarter to end-January, while rental income rose 8 percent to 166 million euros, mainly thanks to shopping centres, Immofinanz said on Wednesday.

Immofinanz said it would continue to expand on the German housing market in preparation for an initial public offering of its Buwog residential unit, which is likely next year, while scaling back development elsewhere.

The Vienna-listed company also said it was preparing for a second listing in Warsaw to increase its visibility and the liquidity of its shares.

Immofinanz withdrew last month from a tender for the real-estate unit of German bank BayernLB, saying it could get in the way of its plans to list Buwog, but said it would continue to pursue acquisitions in Germany.

Apart from Austria and Germany, Immofinanz has property in eastern Europe, where more than half its assets are, and Russia. It is shedding assets such as hotels, although sales in eastern Europe are slow, to concentrate on the residential market.

Quarterly earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) rose by two-thirds in the quarter to 120 million euros, taking the nine-month total to 445 million.

Immofinanz in December abandoned its full-year operating profit target of 600 million euros after posting a 7.5 percent decline in the first half, hurt by delays at a Moscow shopping centre project.

Net profit was 107 million euros compared with 4 million a year earlier, when the company was hit by foreign exchange rate swings and the revaluation of derivatives.

"The current growth and optimisation course will be continued during and after the fourth quarter. Activities will also focus on the reduction of operating costs and cash flow generation," Immofinanz said in a statement on Wednesday.

Another Austrian property group, CA Immo - which is focusing on office buildings in big German cities - posted a 6 percent increase in rental income and a 14 percent drop in net income earlier on Wednesday. ($1 = 0.7722 euros) (Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Kenneth Barry)

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