Norwich Union's property fund celebrates 15th anniversary

Article date: 16 October 2006

The Norwich Property Trust (NPT) – the first authorisedproperty unit trust to be launched in the UK – is celebratingits 15th anniversary.

The fund’s mix of direct commercial property and propertyshares has proved a winning formula over the years, and is popularwith investors who want exposure to a broad range of retail, officeand industrial property.

The Norwich Property Trust has:

  • Hit £3bn for the first time in August 2006
  • Received net cash inflow from investors of more than £1bn overthe last 12 months to end of August
  • Acquired 21 properties over the last 12 months with a combinedvalue of £766m

The fund’s holdings

The fund’s asset mix at 31 August 2006:

  • Direct property 70.4%, property related assets 14.2%, cash15.4%.
  • The direct property holdings consist of offices 42.0%, highstreet shops 14.0%, shopping centres 8.9%, retail warehouses19.9%, industrial 13.9%, other 1.3%.

The fund made its largest-ever purchase in August 2006 – aprestigious City office overlooking the Thames let to a leadingfirm of solicitors. This property was bought“off-market” - a direct approach to the owner. This isan effective way to buy property when competition for acquisitionsis so intense.

Major direct property holdings include:

  • Princes House, Piccadilly, London (offices, retail andcasino)
  • 10 Queen Street Place, London EC4 (offices)
  • Triangle shopping centre, Manchester
  • The Watermark, Gateshead (offices)
  • Trinity Gardens , Newcastle (office development)

Returns

The fund has delivered attractive returns to investors.

1 year %

3 years% pa

5 years % pa

10 years %pa

Fund return

17.7

16.8

12.5

11.7

Source Lipper Hindsight, bid to bid, net income reinvested atdividend pay date. Performance to 31 August2006.

Past performance is not a guide to the future.

UK commercial property has a major role to play in a diversifiedinvestment portfolio. Property remains an attractive asset classwithin a multi-asset class portfolio, where future returns arelikely to reflect long-run historic trends with property deliveringoverall returns between equities and cash/bonds. Future returnsfrom commercial property are likely to be lower than recentyears.

Investors should remember: The value of property is generallya matter of a valuer’s opinion rather than fact. Investmentsin property can be illiquid and it may be difficult to encash atcertain times.

The management team
The team running the fund is ledby Gerardine Davies, who oversees the strategy of the directproperty and the property shares in the fund. Cash management isrun by the Morley Treasury team. She is supported by five charteredsurveyors. Two focus on acquiring new properties; the othersconcentrate on maximising the value of the existing portfolio by,for example, refurbishing or extending a property, or renegotiatinglease agreements.

Gerardine Davies, manager of the Norwich Property Trust, said:“This has been an exciting – period for those of usinvolved in running the Norwich Property Trust. As a result of therecent purchases we have brought the cash in the fund down to justover 15% at the end of August - its lowest level in some time - andthere are more acquisitions to come with over £200m legallycommitted for early 2007 completion and around £200m in duediligence for 2006 completion. Despite the fact that we believethat property returns will be lower going forward, we remainoptimistic/positive that the Trust will continue to providereasonable returns to investors over the medium to longterm.”

Neil Davies, director of marketing investments at Norwich Union,said: "We’re delighted with the performance of the fund andits managers, and the contributions they have made tocustomers’ investment portfolios. It is important to rememberthe contribution property can make to an investment portfoliothrough diversification and its low correlation with cash, bondsand equities.”

Past performance is not a guide to the future.

-ends-

Press office contacts:
David Gwyer 01904 452828 Out of hours 07800 699508
Louise Soulsby 01904 452617 Out of hours 07800 699526

About Norwich Union

  • Norwich Union is the UK’s largest insurer. It is a leadingprovider of life, pensions and investment products and one ofthe largest Financial Adviser (FA) providers. FAs provide over70% of the company's long-term savings business in the UK.
  • Norwich Union is the UK’s largest general insurer with amarket share of around 14%, with a focus on insurance forindividuals and small businesses.
  • Norwich Union’s news releases and a selection of imagesare available from Aviva's internet press centre at www.aviva.com/media

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