Challenger Financial Services is considering launching an Australian listed property trust as part of plans to grow its asset management capabilities.

Announcing an increase in net profit after tax and before significant items of 28 per cent to $153 million yesterday, Mike Tilley, Challenger chief executive, said the group would begin to sound out the market for a proposed initial public offering of units in an ASX listed, externally managed vehicle. If it proceeds with the proposal Challenger hopes to have something in the market by the end of the year or early next year. The vehicle would acquire an interest in property assets in excess of $500 million and Challenger would not own any more than 40 per cent of the vehicle. Funds under management for Challenger were up 21.6 per cent to $92 million for the last financial year as net income generated from funds management rose by 61.4 per cent to $92 million.

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