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PRETORIA – Grit, the listed Africa-focused income distribution group that in July listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange, plans to grow the value of its portfolio by 19 percent in its 2019 financial year.

Post its year-end to June, the value of Grit’s portfolio increased by 41.1 percent to $696.8 million (R10.01 billion) from $490.4m following the successful acquisition of interests in several office assets in Accra in Ghana and the conclusion of the acquisition of Acacia Estate, a corporate accommodation asset leased to an embassy in Maputo in Mozambique.

But subject to the conclusion of anticipated pipeline transactions, Grit said yesterday that it was targeting a portfolio value of $829.5m for its 2019 financial year.

Grit reported a dividend a share to $0.1219 in the year to June from $0.1207 in the previous year, which based on the last issue price represented an 8.5 percent annualised dividend return.

Bronwyn Corbett, the chief executive and founder member of Grit, said this was Grit’s ninth consecutive dividend in line with guidance.

Corbett added that the perception around property investment on the continent outside of South Africa was continuously gaining positive momentum both internationally and on the JSE.

European Public Real Estate Association (Epra) net asset value a share, a measure of the fair value of net assets assuming a normal investment property company business model, increased by 6 percent to $1.457 from $1.374.

Corbett added that Grit planned in due course to seek a conversion to a “premium listing” on the London Stock Exchange.

Grit significantly diversified its shareholder base following its listing on the London Stock Exchange in which it raised $132.2m.

The proceeds of the capital raised were primarily deployed towards Grit’s acquisition pipeline in Ghana and Mozambique.

Corbett said Grit’s entry into Ghana further diversified the regional exposure of its portfolio and the additional economies of scale allowed it to significantly reduce operating costs.

She said Grit also mitigated its euro exposure by decreasing its net euro position through refinancing the group debt facilities in euro.

Corbett said this not only provided a hedge to Grit’s euro income generating assets but also lowered the average cost of debt.

“The additional transparency and benchmarking against Epra reporting guidelines as a result of the London listing has significantly raised our profile internationally, allowing us to introduce several large, long-term international shareholders to the company,” she added. 

New UK investors now hold 12 percent of Grit’s issued share capital via the London Stock Exchange, with investors on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius holding 38 percent and investors on the JSE accounting for the remaining 50 percent.

Shares in Grit remained unchanged to close at R19.20 on the JSE yesterday.