Australia Post considers selling all Australian GPO's

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Australia Post considers selling all Australian GPO's

Post by bazza4338 »

Australia Post considers selling historic Perth GPO

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-10/australia-post-conside ... po/7402014

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Australia Post has confirmed it is considering putting its general post office building in Forrest Place up for sale to help relieve increasing debt as it struggles to survive.

The Perth building is one of seven historic GPOs that may be sold across the country in major capital cities.

It has been reported the proposed deal would see Australia Post sell a majority stake to an investor and retain 40 per cent ownership of the buildings.

While Australia Post would not confirm the intricacies of the proposal, a spokesperson said it was in the early stages of reviewing the properties as part of a regular review of its property portfolio.

Perth's GPO in Forrest Place was opened in 1923 and most of the building is currently occupied by the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority.

CEO Ahmed Fahour said if the sale proceeded, Australia Post would ensure the historical significance of the building was protected.

Speaking in Perth, he was keen to downplay the potential sale.

"There is no sale going on right now," he said.

Mr Ahmed said every couple of years Australia Post's property portfolio was assessed.

"We always want to make sure the money that's deployed in that real estate portfolio is being used to support the core business of who we are and what we are," he said.

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Re: Australia Post considers selling historic Perth GPO

Post by Global Administrator »

Read a similar article in the 'Financial Review' on the plane today .. I'll scan that, and add it here later on.

Every Capital City GPO will be sold if this lunatic Fahour gets his way according to the Fairfax article. :roll: :roll: :roll:
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Re: Australia Post considers selling all Austraian GPO's

Post by aethelwulf »

An all-too-common tactic of governments and gov't corporations--sell assets to give the bottom line a boost...but then in future where are you at?
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Re: Australia Post considers selling all Austraian GPO's

Post by stampchris »

Unfortunately, Perth GPO is basically a shell of a building these days. Australia Post's WA headquarters has been moved out of the city centre to West Perth.

It is in a prime location in the city centre, connected to Perth's main train station and shopping area with huge passing trade, which was redeveloped to include shops on the ground floor (such as was done in Melbourne). Unfortunately, the only tenants are Australia Post and The Big Issue.

Perhaps, if Australia Post sold the Perth GPO, the new owners may actually turn the GPO into area for people to visit and shop rather than just pass through?
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Re: Australia Post considers selling all Australian GPO's

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Re: Australia Post considers selling all Australian GPO's

Post by stampchris »

I agree that it would be great if Australia Post kept the GPOs, but does it make financial sense to own a property in a central location and not make full use of it? Selling them, may or may not be the answer, but it is an option that should be consider.
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Re: Australia Post considers selling all Australian GPO's

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Going postal: The old GPO at Martin Place is one of many on the market. Quentin Jones
Australia Post chief Ahmed Fahour to sell historic GPOs

by Nick Lenaghan and Patrick Durkin

A $300 million slice of Australia's history will go under the hammer as Australia Post uses its heritage buildings to restore its flagging financial fortunes.

The stunning, colonial-era GPOs have long been at the heart of city life across Australia's seven capitals. Now they are the centrepiece in chief executive Ahmed Fahour's latest bid to save the ailing postal business from financial ruin.

The rescue plan to attract property investment into a fund run by Eureka Funds Management is revealed in confidential investment documents obtained by The Australian Financial Review.

"This is truly an exceptionally rare offering of prime real estate, unlikely ever to be repeated," the expression-of-interest documents said.
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Brisbane's GPO building. Robert Shakespeare
The GPOs, many of them than 150 years old, comprise some of the country's most significant public buildings, including Sydney's GPO building at 1 Martin Place and Melbourne's GPO in the Bourke Street mall.

Australia Post has been laying the groundwork for a massive turnaround after posting a $222 million loss last year.

Since then, chief executive Mr Fahour has cut 900 workers, increased the price of ordinary stamps to $1 and introduced a two-speed mail service in an effort to stem the record losses in its mail business.

The seven historic GPOs – those at Brisbane, Hobart, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra are also in the offer – represent the crown jewels for a 207-year-old postal service now fallen on hard times.
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Melbourne's GPO in the Bourke Street mall. Paul Rovere
The freehold of six of the properties, and the leasehold of the Canberra GPO, would be transferred into a property trust, according to the confidential investment documents.

Majority stake


Under the proposed deal, Australia Post would initially retain a 40 per cent stake in the unlisted Australian GPO Trust, to be run by Eureka.

An incoming investor would take the remaining a 60 per stake. Each co-investor would have first right of refusal to buy each other's units.

"The portfolio represents a compelling blue chip investment proposition, being well diversified by location, use and tenants," the EOI documents said, setting a May 20 deadline for bids.

Long leasehold deals are in place at several of the GPOs. Far East Organisation and Sino Group have an 80-year tenancy at Martin Place, where a Westin Hotel is now established.

In Melbourne, super fund investor ISPT has an 85-year lease at the old GPO, now a retail hub host to H&M's flagship Melbourne store. Australia Post itself is a tenant at three of the properties.

The portfolio is forecast to deliver $16.5 million in net income in 2017, with an average lease expiry of 32 years.

Australia Post said no final decisions have yet been made.

"We are in the early stages of reviewing our GPO properties to evaluate if there are opportunities to maximise return on these assets so that we can reinvest in our business to ensure our long-term sustainability," Australia Post spokesman Mark Gardy said.

"If we decided to proceed, we would ensure the heritage significance of these properties is maintained."

Read more: https://www.afr.com/real-estate/australia-post-chief-ahmed-fa ... z48Iv8Yb00

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Re: Australia Post considers selling all Australian GPO's

Post by DJCMH »

Global Administrator wrote:Image

"If we decided to proceed, we would ensure the heritage significance of these properties is maintained."

Read more: https://www.afr.com/real-estate/australia-post-chief-ahmed-fa ... z48Iv8Yb00
This is of what I would be most worried about. While Australia seems to be less iconoclastic than the United States has been regarding its architectural heritage (so much amazing places of historical and architectural signficance were destroyed here in the 1950s to the 1980s in the name of "modernization") it would be such a tragedy to have these buildings potentially lost due to "development."

I know we live in post-modern market driven world, but the historian in me shudders when I read about government institutions considering selling heritage-worthy buildings on the open market. Really there are many things that should never be "monetized" in the name of the bottom line, they are just bigger and more relevant to society as a whole than simple profit. Sure, there might be safeguards in place *now* but the chances those safeguards could be replaced in the future will always exist.

Could someone just sell a controlling interest in Fahour to raise capital instead? Cheaper and would likely staunch a lot of the cause of the financial bleeding currently happening to Australia Post, rather than just a one-time bandage to the problem that selling these buildings would allow.
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Re: Australia Post considers selling all Australian GPO's

Post by traralgon3844 »

It would seem that Achmed missed out on one of the real prizes.

It seems the Melbourne G.P.O. was sold off in 2005.

https://www.melbournesgpo.com/story/

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An who is ISPT?

ISPT acquired Melbourne’s GPO in 2005 and in 2012 undertook maintenance to the historic facade to restore the buildings features and to install a state of the art lighting system that highlights the majestic architectural feature of the building.

ISPT is one of Australia’s largest unlisted property fund managers with $11.4 billion of funds under management through our investments in office, retail, industrial and residential properties.
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Re: Australia Post considers selling all Australian GPO's

Post by Global Administrator »

stampchris wrote:.... does it make financial sense to own a property in a central location, and not make full use of it?
They are called "Blue Chip Assets" Chris. And AP is making full use of it get a rent/lease return MANY times the current low interest rates. Brilliant management, and best left well alone.

All prudent companies and individuals retain such things, as it makes sense to get a steady income stream from the leases over many decades. Yet still OWN key real estate assets, in the centre of all capital cities.

Money grabbing carpetbaggers like Fahour want to SELL these Blue Chip assets to give a one time apparent boost to the balance sheet, that allows him and his bloated buddies to draw down their $A100 million in Fat Cat salaries and bonuses for yet another year, whilst the ship is actually sinking fast.

The poor schmuck who takes over then this maniac is finally sacked will inherit a decimated postal system, and now one with no meaningful real estate assets or the high yield income therefrom.

So no, it does not make "financial sense" Chris to anyone except Fahour, who wants to get a chunk of those proceeds into HIS obscene annual pay packet, before riding into the Sunset clutching many millions of it himself.

His weasel words in the ABC article show annoyance that he got caught out red-handed on this, that he hoped to keep secret, and it seems clear the plan is full steam ahead all set up and laid out, and bids close in A WEEK.

These are GOVERNMENT assets, and belong to you and me - not him, and all thinking readers of this will be emailing the Minister for Communications to stop this sale, and to have Fahour sacked.

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Re: Australia Post considers selling all Australian GPO's

Post by starling »

It has been about 25 years since I set foot inside the Sydney GPO. In those days, from memory, it occupied the whole ground floor of that building with counters. Presumably the upper floors were for the middle- and upper-level management.

I'm guessing that most of these are now gone. There also seems to be a lot more smaller postal agencies dotted around the CBD, so one central GPO is probably not needed.

That being said, the building would be heritage listed and untouchable by developers, in fact they would probably have to pay a packet to restore it.

They're probably selling the space above the GPO. A thirty storey or more residential tower would be worth a lot of money in the various CBDs.


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Re: Australia Post considers selling all Australian GPO's

Post by Global Administrator »

Scott they are all Heritage listed of course.

The Sydney GPO building for many years has been a mega story 5 Star Hotel -- The Westin. They were forced to retain (at huge expense to developer) the outer facade when building it.

Australia Post now nets probably $30 million p.a. by LEASING the properties. Probably on a 5-8% yield etc. Very profitable when money in the bank gets 2%, and prime CBD Real Estate rises each year as a bonus in $$ value per square meter.

Fahour is not content with that kind of savvy conservative management - $30m does not even pay the annual wages and bonuses for him and his top tier floperroo buddies, so he wants to sell it all NOW, and make the 2016 'profits' look good.

Fahour and his kind are like the Vikings .. rape and pillage, with no thought of the future.

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Re: Australia Post considers selling all Australian GPO's

Post by Global Administrator »

traralgon3844 wrote:It would seem that Achmed missed out on one of the real prizes.

It seems the Melbourne G.P.O. was sold off in 2005.
Nope. AP still owns the freehold it seems clear. ISPT simply leases it from AP and sub-leases to others.
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In Melbourne, super fund investor ISPT has an 85-year lease at the old GPO, now a retail hub host to H&M's flagship Melbourne store. Australia Post itself is a tenant at three of the properties.

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Re: Australia Post considers selling all Australian GPO's

Post by allanmq »

Hi,

I can identify an immediate saving that doesn't involve asset sales just a staff reduction of 1. We can save millions.

I am embarrassed as an Australian that we pay someone so much to destroy our postal services.

The Adelaide GPO is now only a shadow of its former operating profile. Maybe in preparation for redevelopment?

Where are we going to queue to pay our $9 dollars to collect what others paid to post?

cheers
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Re: Australia Post considers selling all Australian GPO's

Post by fromdownunder »

I have no problem with what was done to the Melbourne GPO. Upkeep became somebody elses problem, AP gets a nice steady income stream for the forseeable future, a private enterprise firm makes their nut through rentals, retailers make a quid because they are occupying the most prime real estate in Melbourne, and the heart of the city has something to be proud of - a National Trust classified facade (and some interiors) which maintains some "old world" beauty.

Selling though, is not a good thing. It's a one off, one year addition to the bottom line, which softly and silently vanishes away within 12 months, and AP finish up with nothing. If the Melbourne model was used everywhere else (and I believe that this also happened in Geelong) simply by offering a long term lease to a developer for a given annual return and building maintenance, I would be extremely comfortable, simply because AP would be incapable of managing a decent refurb/Lease model themselves. Especially with Fahour running the show.

They really need to just lease these buildings long term to people who know what they are doing, and take a reduced return.

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Re: Australia Post considers selling all Australian GPO's

Post by mcgooley »

Before everyone gets their knickers in a knot...

AP have been steadily selling off the family silver since 1975 when the P.M.G. was split. While I can't speak for the other States, I hold copies of two reports (1976 and 1983) on official Post Office buildings in Victoria - and there were far fewer in '83 than in '76. And there's a bl**dy sight fewer now.

I can confirm that AP still owns the freehold on the old Melbourne GPO, as it does for several other prime pieces of real estate around Australia.

Which, as has already been pointed out, would make far more money for AP over the longer term than being sold off now.
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Post by Princestamps »

Australia Post could save millions by jettisoning Ahmed Fahour and get in someone who can run a Post Office :lol:

I could imagine, all sold to Chinese investors, who put in little shops of chintzy $2 junk, Hello Kitty superstores and several restaurants, at least one with dead ducks hanging in the window and the upper floors are converted to a "Chinese stress relief massage therapy" (Brothel).
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Re: Australia Post considers selling all Australian GPO's

Post by ChrisGray »

More and more it seems like fundamental asset stripping. Perhaps he's eyeing off selling AP as a heavy burdened loss-maker to the likes of his old employer Gulf Finance House, so they can do a quick Dick Smith Electronics and make a few hundred million on an IPO.

Shades of Allan Bond's number done on Waltons in the eighties, now (if you can believe wikipedia) was a failed investment; ie. selling off all the real estate and stock, talk down the business continually, before bailing out what was left of a now worthless company.

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Re: Australia Post considers selling all Australian GPO's

Post by mcgooley »

This morning (Friday 13th) I listened to Jon Faine interviewing Mr Fahour on ABC 774 - http://www.abc.net.au/melbourne/programs/melbourne_mornings/ - and there was not one word about this aspect of the AP fiasco...

In fact, if you listen to the interview (just after the 10 am news IIRC) it'll give you a warm fuzzy feeling inside (like you get just before you throw up!) which is probably what was intended.

For reasons, I can't stream the interview and listen to it again but there were a couple of interesting comments.
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Re: Australia Post considers selling all Australian GPO's

Post by bazza4338 »

mcgooley wrote:This morning (Friday 13th) I listened to Jon Faine interviewing Mr Fahour on ABC 774 - https://www.abc.net.au/melbourne/programs/melbourne_mornings/ - and there was not one word about this aspect of the AP fiasco...

In fact, if you listen to the interview (just after the 10 am news IIRC) it'll give you a warm fuzzy feeling inside (like you get just before you throw up!) which is probably what was intended.

For reasons, I can't stream the interview and listen to it again but there were a couple of interesting comments.

Something similar here possibly - Radio Station 3AW - today - Neil Mitchell

Australia Post on the verge of dumping parcel holding charges and introduces new delivery times

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https://www.3aw.com.au/news/australia-post-dumps-parcel-holdi ... ou8cr.html

Click on "Click PLAY below to hear Neil's chat with Ahmed Fahour"

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Re: Australia Post considers selling all Australian GPO's

Post by mcgooley »

Still can't wrangle w.10 into submission regarding audio: does the interview attempt to paint AP as the caring, customer-driven service which will do anything to facilitate mail deliveries? :roll:

During the Faine interview on ABC, there was a statement that AP will be back in the black by the end of the year (which Faine questioned with feint incredulity) which is apparently driven by the parcel post.
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Re: Australia Post considers selling all Australian GPO's

Post by David Smitham »

As an outsider - from New Zealand - I think that it is a shame that these fine architecture pieces are to be sold off.

Ignoring the rights or wrongs of what the CEO has plans to do - re the trust mentioned ...

Is this going to be one of the Panama Papers type trusts? That I am certain no one will be happy with, apart from maybe the CEO.

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Re: Australia Post considers selling all Australian GPO's

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David Smitham wrote: Is this going to be one of the Panama Papers type trusts? That I am certain no one will be happy with, apart from maybe the CEO.
I am not expert on Trusts but as AP are majority Federal Government owned, I doubt the monies will be going to Panama. :mrgreen:

My layman bare bones understanding is this -

1. All the freehold land is now owned 100% by Australia Post and long term leases are in place returning them a VERY handsome, safe, and above market rate.

2. If this furtive Trust is established, (with countless millions going in needless fees to Fahour's banker/lawyer mates and Associates) AP then ends up owning only 40% of the freehold.

3. In return for FOREVER losing 60% of those Blue Chip assets, AP gets a massive one off payment into the balance sheet. All totally legal accounting of course. So a $A250 million current LOSS suddenly gets a few $100 million landing in there - not from improved postal revenues of efficiencies, but from selling off the family silver basically.

4. Fahour can then call a press conference saying - "due my inspired and brilliant LEADERSHIP I have created a PROFIT this year from last year's LOSS. That reminds me - my Chimp buddies and I now deserve a Juicy BONUS - $15 million will do just fine out of this PROFIT."



Mark my words - I can see this unfolding. Fahour sounded VERY p!ssed when details of this scam was leaked. It has been a BIG secret until then and tenders close in a week so seems a done deal whether it makes good sense or not.

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Re: Australia Post considers selling all Australian GPO's

Post by richwong »

Princestamps wrote:Australia Post could save millions by jettisoning Ahmed Fahour and get in someone who can run a Post Office :lol:

I could imagine, all sold to Chinese investors, who put in little shops of chintzy $2 junk, Hello Kitty superstores and several restaurants, at least one with dead ducks hanging in the window and the upper floors are converted to a "Chinese stress relief massage therapy" (Brothel).

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Re: Australia Post considers selling all Australian GPO's

Post by Princestamps »

Sorry if I offended you and in the light of day my comments do seem brainless. But I just feel that od buildings deserve to be protected and protected by the state if the entity that built them can not. They have historical and cultural significance and deserve that respect.
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Re: Australia Post considers selling all Australian GPO's

Post by mcgooley »

Global Administrator wrote:...due my inspired and brilliant LEADERSHIP I have created a PROFIT this year from last year's LOSS...
This was Mr Fahour's spiel during the interview I listened to last week (see above, and I forgot to mention that the interview is only on line for one week...) - but there was no mention of selling off the farm to achieve bringing the books back into the black.

In light of the furore caused by the revelations about the potential sale of these buildings, it might be possible to bend the ears of MPs during the next few weeks. There's always the possibility that the looming Federal election just might play into the hands of people who care enough about these Government-owned buildings :idea:
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Re: Australia Post considers selling all Australian GPO's

Post by Britcollector »

Rather than the tale of an overpaid or demented Postmaster General, is this not the story of increasingly out dated government buildings ..... Worldwide?

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Re: Australia Post considers selling all Australian GPO's

Post by fromdownunder »

Britcollector wrote:Rather than the tale of an overpaid or demented Postmaster General, is this not the story of increasingly out dated government buildings ..... Worldwide?
Probably, almost certainly. But heritage listed buildings don't need to be sold and the benefits restricted to the "bottom line" in a single year. As with the Melbourne GPO they can be leased to Private Enterprise long term with on-going benefits to both parties.

It really is pretty simple. Sell a long term lease and have an income stream for the future or sell the freehold and have nothing next year. Since Farhour is unlikely to be around in 10 years he really does not give a flying **** about what Australia Post is likely to look like 10 years from now. He just wants a bottom line that will give him his bonus.

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