Supermarket giant Woolworths announced the sale and leaseback by its ALH Group of a portfolio of 54 pubs for $603 million.
A consortium led by property group Charter Hall will pick up the selection of hotels, which Woolworths said was one of the largest hotel portfolio sales in Australia’s history.
The portfolio includes Croxton Park Hotel and Manhattan Hotel in Victoria, the Villa Noosa Hotel and Parkwood Tavern in Queensland, the Hyde Park Hotel in Western Australia and the Norwood Hotel in South Australia.
Of the pubs, 46 also include a Dan Murphy’s and/or BWS retail tenancy.
Woolworths said it will consider the most appropriate usage for the net sale proceeds, which may include a reduction in debt.
Business confidence eases in August
The level of confidence in the business community fell slightly in August but remains resilient, according the latest instalment of the National Australia Bank monthly business survey.
The NAB survey recorded business confidence at eight points for August, down two points from July, but at the same level as June.
However, business conditions halved during August, dropping to four points from a reading of eight points in July.
NAB attributed the fall in conditions to the particularly strong July results.
“The jump in business conditions last month was surprising, so some payback in August was expected,” said NAB.
“The conditions index unwound most of July’s narrowly based gains—manufacturing, construction and retail fell most. Forward orders also eased, but remain at levels implying strong Q3 demand.”
The construction industry was the most confident in August, with positive forward orders, subdued costs pressures and more stable consumer confidence helping to prevent any further falls in overall business confidence.
Shares up on open
Aussie shares opened slightly higher this morning in anticipation of local data releases, including a pre-market reading of higher consumer confidence, the NAB monthly business survey and July home lending numbers.
“Given the importance of the state of the consumer to the overall health of the market, these may be the dominant influences,” said CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was up 8.4 points to 5585.4 points at 11.50am AEST. On Monday, the Dow Jones closed 7.6 points higher, up 0.14% to 5586.5 points.