Retirement village developers in rush to raise cash

LONDON: Retirement village developers are running pell-mell into the offices of the capital raising cluster belt. The desire to strengthen balance sheets is overwhelming.

Privately-owned New Zealand retirement village chain Real Living might be sold for more than $400 million, according to industry speculation.

But nothing is confirmed.

Retirement village industry insiders said Real Living was controlled by one family possibly interested in selling, but the family is not commenting.

It was reported that entities in that country were interested in the four-village Real Living and private equity might buy it.

The Murphy family has appeared on the NBR rich list with assets of more than $200m.

Real Living managed and owned Pakuranga Park, Epsom Village, Remuera Gardens and Warkworth Oaks.

The company listed the Pakuranga property as being on more than 30 acres in the heart of east Auckland. That village had 191 independent living villas, 40 independent apartments, 28 serviced apartments and two community centres.

Epsom is advertised as having parks nearby and looking towards Waitematā Harbour.

The newest village at Warkworth was described as a place to enjoy a unique retirement community close to the Mahurangi River.

A source said the business was well-run with an established track record.

“Pakuranga Park is their big machine,” he said. “They could potentially put up apartments at that site so it has potential.”

Real Living’s slogan is “retirement living villages exclusively NZ owned and operated for over 30 years”.

Asked why the Murphy family might be considering selling at this point, the insider said Pakuranga Park was founded more than three decades ago and now could be the right time.

Certainly, interest in the sector is high with big returns from listed retirement village businesses and speculation that privately-owned Metlifecare is looking to buy BUPA.

“Like all families, they’re probably saying where to from here? I can understand why they might be considering a sale,” the insider said.

Real Living director Chris Murphy has previously expressed pride in the business being family-owned and offering a high level of service.

ING originally owned Remuera Gardens and Epsom Gardens before the global financial crisis.

ING sold those two villages to the Murphy family which already had the big Pakuranga property. The family then expanded by building the new Warkworth development, seeing potential for retirement village living in that area.

The Australian said Real Living was believed to be worth about NZ$400m “and is expected to attract some of the major Australian retirement living investors in its upcoming auction”.

Forsyth Barr was reported to be working on the sale process and information memorandums have been sent out to buyers, the newspaper said. Forsyth Barr has not confirmed its involvement.

A source said the business was well-run with an established track record.

“Pakuranga Park is their big machine,” he said. “They could potentially put up apartments at that site so it has potential.”

Real Living’s slogan is “retirement living villages exclusively NZ owned and operated for over 30 years”.

Asked why the Murphy family might be considering selling at this point, the insider said Pakuranga Park was founded more than three decades ago and now could be the right time.

Certainly, interest in the sector is high with big returns from listed retirement village businesses and speculation that privately-owned Metlifecare is looking to buy BUPA.

“Like all families, they’re probably saying where to from here? I can understand why they might be considering a sale,” the insider said.

Real Living director Chris Murphy has previously expressed pride in the business being family-owned and offering a high level of service.

ING originally owned Remuera Gardens and Epsom Gardens before the global financial crisis.

ING sold those two villages to the Murphy family which already had the big Pakuranga property. The family then expanded by building the new Warkworth development, seeing potential for retirement village living in that area.

The Australian said Real Living was believed to be worth about NZ$400m “and is expected to attract some of the major Australian retirement living investors in its upcoming auction”.

Forsyth Barr was reported to be working on the sale process and information memorandums have been sent out to buyers, the newspaper said. Forsyth Barr has not confirmed its involvement.