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Goodman Group maintains lead among asset managers
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Goodman Group's focus on logistics and warehouse assets has allowed it to ride out the COVID-19 crisis better than most. Photo: Shutterstock

Goodman Group maintains lead among asset managers

Commercial and industrial property conglomerate Goodman Group has again topped a ranking of Australia’s biggest fund managers, as the total value of real estate assets under management hit $316 billion in 2019.

Commercial and industrial property conglomerate Goodman Group has again topped a ranking of Australia’s biggest fund managers, as the total value of real estate assets under management hit $316 billion in 2019.

The latest Fund Manager Survey by ANREV, a comprehensive ranking of the assets under management in the Asia-Pacific, showed Goodman Group grew its portfolio to $52 billion worth of real estate in 2019.

Goodman Group’s most recent development comprises a new fulfilment centre in Brisbane for Amazon Australia, which will open by Christmas at the firm’s Port Industry Park in Lytton.

Charter Hall Group was ranked second by ANREV with $38.9 billion in real estate under management, while Lendlease had $36.5 billion, the survey said.

Overall, assets under management in Australia were up 4.7 per cent in 2019, compared to the previous year.

ANREV director of research and professional standards Amelie Delaunay said the increase in value was indicative of the positivity in the investment community around fund managers’ collective performance in 2019.

“Domestically, Australian real estate enjoyed strong fundamentals in 2019 in sectors such as office and logistics and benefited from renewed optimism about Australia’s economic outlook, which materialised over the course of the year,” Ms Delaunay said.

“COVID-19, however, has created significant uncertainty in the real estate market, which if prolonged, could risk a major devaluation of assets.

“While the impact on the real estate industry in Australia is yet to be fully seen, investors globally consistently ranked the country their top investment destination over the years on the back of strong fundamentals, making it an important component in long-term investors’ portfolio and source of diversification.”

As well as topping the list of fund managers, Goodman Group has fared better than the rest of the top 10 in share market performance through the COVID-19 crisis.

In May, Goodman Group said while there were significant global health and economic challenges associated with the crisis, logistics and warehousing were playing an important role in delivering essential goods and infrastructure.

Goodman at the time said its earnings would not be materially affected by COVID-19, while later in May the company announced it would deliver a statutory pre-tax profit of $284.4 million for the year ended March 31. 

On March 2, Goodman Group’s stock on the Australian Securities Exchange was trading at $14.91. By the height of the coronavirus crisis on March 19, its stock had plunged 35 per cent to $9.70.

As of June 15, Goodman Group’s shares were trading at $14.53, down just 2.5 per cent on its pre-COVID level.

By comparison, Charter Hall’s shares remain 22.3 per cent under their pre-COVID price of $12.18, trading at $9.46.

Charter Hall’s stock had plunged 56.6 per cent in value by March 23, as its shares slid to a 2020 low of $5.29.

Lendlease is also trading well under pre-COVID prices, with its June 15 share price of $12.14 sitting 31 per cent lower than its $17.17 price on March 2.

The diversified developer and fund manager’s shares had plunged by 46.2 per cent to hit a 2020 low of $9.53 on March 23.

Retail-focused Vicinity Centres, which was ranked 6th among fund managers in Australia with total assets of around $26 billion, also has not rebounded as well as Goodman, with its stock trading 30.6 per cent lower than its pre-COVID price of $2.19, at $1.52.

Vicinity shares hit a 2020 low of 96.5 cents on March 27.

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