Australian Unity is seeking to raise A$350m (€220m) for its Australian Unity Healthcare Property Trust (AUHPT) to help pay down debt and finance acquisitions and projects.

The offer is made up of a A$150m rights issue offer to existing investors and a A$200m general offer for new investors.

Chris Smith, Australian Unity’s general manager of healthcare property, said: “The capital raise will strengthen the fund’s balance sheet to provide funding for upcoming acquisitions and developments.

“Some of the capital will initially be used to reduce the fund’s gearing ratio which, assuming a successful raise, will decrease from 30.5% to around 21%.”

The trust acquired 16 assets in the last quarter totalling A$337m, including 9 Bolton Clarke aged care facilities in South Australia for A$220m and the Retreat Care portfolio in Queensland for A$73.43m.

Smith said the addition of aged-care facilities into the trust’s portfolio increased diversification.

He told IPE Real Assets: “While we understand Australia’s aged-care sector is facing challenges, the team is focused on sourcing value-added opportunities. Our sector preference is to have around 20% of the trust’s portfolio allocated to aged-care assets, providing diversification via asset type, tenant, and geographic location.”

Smith said the first major development project would be expansion of Robina Private Hospital, now in detailed planning and estimated to cost A$212m.

“Construction commencement should occur in the second half of this year, with practical completion in late 2025,” he said.

In addition to Robina, Smith said, the trust’s development pipeline included three private hospitals and one medical centre. It also has acquisition opportunities currently in active due diligence with existing and new tenant partners.

AUHPT launched 24 years ago and is ranked as Australia’s largest unlisted healthcare fund, currently holding 98 healthcare-related assets across Australia.

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