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Feb. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Dexus Property Group, Australia’s largest owner and manager of office properties, plans to sell all its European industrial properties within 18 months and resume sales in the U.S.
The company, which today reported funds from operations rose 3 percent to A$184.3 million ($197.7 million) in the first half, has sold six of its European assets, and has another five on the market, outgoing Chief Executive Officer Victor Hoog Antink said in a telephone interview. It is set to restart sales of “non-core” properties in the east and central U.S. as part of its strategy to focus on the nation’s west coast, he said.
The sales “were on hold because we didn’t have them leased to a level I was comfortable with,” Hoog Antink said. “If you look back at the returns we’ve had over the last two years, we’ve had double digit internal rates of return as a result of holding on.”
Hoog Antink, who has been at Dexus’s helm for eight years, will retire in March. He will be replaced by Darren Steinberg, who has overseen A$18 billion as managing director for property of Colonial First State Global Asset Management.
Dexus plans to sell off its remaining 70 million euros ($92 million) worth of properties in Europe after boosting occupancy levels in the next 12 to 18 months, Hoog Antink said.
The company will pay a dividend of 2.67 cents a share for the half, it said today.
The shares rose 1.7 percent to 89 Australian cents at the close of trading in Sydney, the biggest gain since Jan. 20.
--Editors: Andreea Papuc, Linus Chua
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