Simon Owen tapped on the shoulder for the village industry’s biggest job

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ING Real Estate has scored a major coup in recruiting Simon Owen as Chief Executive Officer of their listed Community Living Fund (ILF) which has $1 billion of seniors housing and student accommodation across Australia, New Zealand, US, Canada and New Zealand. Comprising 103 properties and 10,000 units, the fund has struggled in recent times due to a high debt burden, low occupancy rates and poorly defined strategies. It has two key businesses in Australia; the WA and QLD Settlers villages (with traditional DMF structures) and Garden Villages which has 34 rental villages across Australia.

Simon was elected President of the RVA last November and is largely credited for reinvigorating of the industry association, the recruitment of Andrew Giles as the new, energetic CEO and pro active engagement with members and government. For the five years to August 2008 Simon was the CEO of Aevum, taking it from a sleepy mutual association with just three villages to being the largest for-profit village owner and operator in NSW with 17 villages. He led the team that took Aevum from a loss in 2003 to a $28 million profit of $28 million by the time he left. Aevum has survived the best of all the publicly listed village operators because of his legacy of very conservative balance sheet. At ING he has inherited the reverse, with a debt gearing of 74%. A major challenge.

Morans moving in on troubled care assets – St.Lukes Little Bay and Bridgewater

The rumour mill has the Moran family buying the 5 Star state of the art St.Lukes Little Bay care facility at a very attractive price. With stunning ocean views and a prestige fit out, it has been struggling to achieve occupancy for over 12 months. At the same time it is suggested that the Morans have almost secured the Roxburgh Park (VIC) 107 bed Bridgewater care facility that went into administration in May.

Large village operator about to be consumed by larger operator

A significant transaction is close to being finalised from left field, covering big villages in several states and further consolidating the industry. The transaction could be as close as a week away.

Urgent call by RVA to all village operators to take action on Regulation changes

The RVA is working very hard to ‘get balance’ in the discussions with the NSW government about proposed regulation changes. Submissions on the Draft Retirement Village Regulation 2009 close on 4 November 2009. To assist, the RVA has developed template letters for the following:

• Single Operators to the Minister for Fair Trading Virginia Judge
• Single Operators to their Local State Member
• Group Operators to the Minister for Fair Trading Virginia Judge
• Group Operators to their Local State Member
• Village Employees to Local State Member

The information can be obtained at www.rva.com.au

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