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CAPE TOWN - Attacq, a real estate investment trust (Reit), declared a maiden interim dividend of 40.5cents a share for the six months to end-December after a strong performance from its local portfolio, chief executive Melt Hamman said yesterday.

A 9.6 percent increase in group distributable income to R316.4million was also supported by good trading growth from the Mall of Africa, newly completed buildings in Waterfall and strong dividend growth from MAS Real Estate, which has property investments in Western and Eastern Europe.

Attacq converted to a Reit in May last year, and declared an inaugural annual dividend in October for the full year to end-June 2018, hence there was no prior period comparative for this interim dividend.

Hamman said that they were “fairly” confident of meeting a forecast dividend per share for the full year to June 30 of between 79.6c and 81c a share, which would represent growth of 7.5 to 9.5 percent on the 2018 full dividend.

This was in line with guidance provided by the group in September last year.

However, this was dependent on rental income forecasts being met, conclusion of market-related renewals, an outcome of the Edcon restructure, roll out of the budgeted development portfolio, and no unforeseen events such as major corporate tenant failures or maco-economic instability.

The group business model has four value drivers, the South African portfolio, developments at Waterfall, investments in MAS and Rest of Africa retail investments.

Impairments to the Rest of Africa investments, due in part to weak economies in Africa, as well as Attacq paying out a full-year dividend resulted in net asset value a share falling by 2.4 percent from R24.24 at June 30, 2018, to R23.66.

Attacq traded 2.4 percent lower at R15.03 by mid-afternoon on the JSE yesterday, trading well below net asset value.

Hamman said most of JSE-listed companies were trading well below net asset value.

The operational portfolio consists of R21billion of retail, office and mixed-use, light industrial and hotel properties. Earnings from the portfolio increased 17.7percent in the interim period to 29.3c a share.

Rental income rose 12.4percent to R1bn, mainly due to the additional rents from buildings completed. Like-for-like rental growth was only 0.4percent.

The capitalisation and discount rates for December 31, 2018, valuations remained largely unchanged compared with the June 30 valuations.

The total asset value of developments at Waterfall, the city and logistics hub development in Gauteng, including the value of the Attacq Sanlam joint venture, increased to R2.6bn from R2.3bn due to capital expenditure and fair value adjustments on developments under construction.

Attacq’s shareholding in MAS remained unchanged at 22.8percent.

Hamman said they did not intend to invest more into MAS or other African countries but would rather invest in Waterfall or reduce debt.

As at December 31, 2019, the value of Attacq’s Rest of Africa retail investments was R806.9m, or 2.9percent (June 30: 4.2percent) of its total gross assets.

Shares in Attacq closed 3.05 percent lower at R14.93 on the JSE yesterday.

BUSINESS REPORT