Primewest, RSM partner to help commercial tenants

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ASX-listed funds manager and retail landlord Primewest has offered to cover the cost of professional advice for its retail and commercial tenants affected by COVID-19, in a partnership with multinational accounting firm RSM

Under the deal, Primewest will pay for its tenants to access RSM’s expertise to determine whether they are eligible for government stimulus, as well as advice on how to proceed with the application process.

Tenants will also receive assistance to prepare financial information to obtain rent relief under the new commercial tenancy code of conduct.

Primewest director David Schwartz said the company had more than 1,600 tenants in its $1 billion-plus retail portfolio across Australia, many of which are small businesses.

“For us, our philosophy is that a dead tenant is not a good tenant, so we have got to do everything that we can to make sure that they survive,” Mr Schwartz told Business News.

“When you are in a financial bind, the last thing you want to do is go and spend money on accountants and advice, so we’ve said we are prepared to pay and we want to help the small guys through.”

Mr Schwartz said he was not aware of any other landlord in Australia providing this sort of support to its tenants.

“Our approach has always been that our survival and our success is our tenants’ success, and therefore we have made this approach to make sure that our tenants can be successful,” he said.

“Our business relies on our tenants and our tenants’ success, so whatever we can do to make sure that our tenants are successful, that’s our job.”

RSM Australia national head of property and construction Adam Crowley said one of the biggest challenges reported by commercial tenants affected by the pandemic was making sense of the stimulus packages on offer.

“The reality of it is the provisions are really complex, particularly for small business owners to navigate.” Mr Crowley told Business News.

“In terms of different stimulus packages, both state and federal, there is a lot going on there, so if we can help those tenants to see what they are eligible for, to register, apply, and use that as a buffer to get some cash flow or some financial assistance in, that’s obviously going to put them in a better financial position.”

Mr Crowley said RSM would also assist Primewest tenants with cash flow and trading forecasts for when they were likely to reopen.

“It’s one thing to understand what the government stimulus packages are and how they can support you, but what does it actually mean for your business,” Mr Crowley asked.

“How do you make decisions with knowledge and foresight as to what to expect?

“We’ve also pulled together some cash flow tools and cash flow models that we are working with them on, and we incorporate the government stimulus into the cash flow so they can predict what their trading is going to be, they have an idea of what money is coming in the door and what their costs are going to be. 

“That also helps them make decisions on what they do with employees, negotiating with their creditors and that kind of thing, so it helps them make informed decisions.”

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