File picture: James White
Durban - Atlantic Leaf Properties has managed to grow its portfolio in the UK by a 51 percent for the year to end February, despite the threat posed by Brexit during the period.

The share price closed unchanged at R16.85 on the JSE on Tuesday.

"The market in which the company operates has been strong and to date largely unaffected by the uncertainty caused by Brexit,” the group said yesterday.

Going forward, the company remains confident that there are good acquisition opportunities and it will continue to seek out transactions that meet the company's overall objectives.

Atlantic Leaf’s aim is to establish itself as a property investment company with a focus on the UK industrial market providing attractive and growing distributions to its shareholders.

The company’s portfolio consists of several quality assets, which have long-term, single-tenant leases with multinational or national occupiers in key regional nodes in the UK.

Successful year

The company said that it had enjoyed a successful year in which assets under management had increased by 55.1 percent to £304 million (R5.1 billion) for the year to end February, up from £196 millon reported in 2016.

The total gross lettable area of the portfolio now stands at 457 000m² across 48 properties, with an average yield of 7.3 percent and a weighted average unexpired lease term of approximately 12 years.

The group managed to more than double its revenue for the year, increasing it by 131.52 percent to £21.3 million, up from £9.2 million, while operating profit jumped by 174.24 percent to £18.1 million, up from £6.6 million achieved a year before.

Profit grew to £9.1 million, up from £5.4 million. Headline earnings per share were higher at 9.58 pence per share as compared to 6.19 pence per share reported in 2016.

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“The results reflect the substantial growth and development the company has achieved over the past financial year,” the group said.

As a result of the impressive performance, the board declared an annual dividend of 8.5 pence per share, an increase of 21 percent as compared with the 7 pence per share declared in 2016.

This group said the dividend is in line with the forecast given at the time of migrating the listing of Atlantic Leaf to the main board of the JSE in November of last year.

Currently the company has primary listings both on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

The board believes that a solid foundation has been laid and that Atlantic Leaf has the ability to add further assets over the coming year, leveraging off its strong foundation and by having a pipeline of opportunities in place.