JOHANNESBURG – JSE-listed property company Equites Property Fund, whose footprint extends to the UK, grew its overall portfolio by 47.6 percent to R12 billion in the year under review.
Its UK business grew to 32.7 percent of the portfolio at year-end through nine acquisitions and developments. It also concluded a strategic joint venture with UK-based development company Newlands Property Developments.
The group increased strategic land holdings in Gauteng to meet ongoing development demand.
The group initially operated solely in South Africa until June 2016, when it entered the UK market to counteract the inherent emerging-market risk and simultaneously provide access to one of the most advanced logistics markets in the world.
“Over the past five years the group has curated a high-quality logistics portfolio across South Africa and the UK, with a focus on assets that are modern, well located, and tenanted by A-grade users on long-dated leases.
"The group benefits from being a market leader in this class of specialisation, where the company is still the only listed property company on the JSE to provide shareholders with pure exposure to prime logistics,” the group said.
The group grew gross leasable area (GLA) 45 percent from 444 175m² to 643 965m² with a further 105 235m² under development at year-end.
Vacancies increased from 2 percent of GLA at the same time last year to 3.9 percent as a result of speculative developments completed, all of which were let by the end of April 2019, resulting in a vacancy rate of 0.9 percent.
The group said it had grown its investment in the UK, where high levels of demand for the asset class point to continued, robust performance.
“Despite concerns over Brexit, strong market fundamentals supported by e-commerce suggest continued optimism and further yield compression, making this market increasingly desirable.”