Attacq, previously known as Atterbury Investment Holdings, has hinted at the possibility of it exploring the potential of markets in eastern Europe.

The company listed its R12.5 billion commercial and retail property assets on the JSE in October last year, and its diversification strategy involves expanding into Africa and into international or developed markets through its strategic 47.2 percent shareholding in MAS Real Estate.

MAS has a primary listing on the Euro-MTF market of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange and a secondary listing on the JSE’s AltX board. It holds property investments in Germany, Switzerland and the UK.

Morne Wilken, Attacq’s chief executive, said yesterday that market opportunities it had identified were in countries that were coming off a low base, including Africa and eastern Europe.

Wilken said Attacq’s African initiative had a “first mover” advantage that gave it a competitive edge and he believed it could benefit from the recovery in Europe through its stake in MAS. He stressed Attacq was not looking at opportunities in eastern Europe, but admitted there was potential in this market.

Wilken said the rationale for expanding into Africa and internationally was the belief that with its multibillion-rand Waterfall development in Midrand, Attacq had captured most of the growth potential in South Africa.

The company had looked for markets with further growth potential and had identified Africa and the international market, which gave it a rand hedge, he said.

Wilken said its African and international market exposure accounted for about 20 percent of Attacq’s gross assets of R15.1bn. He said the company had guidelines on what percentage split it wanted in Africa, internationally and in South Africa, but indicated that it was flexible to allow it to follow opportunities.

“Our focus is that the international or developed market gives you a more stable income, while emerging markets give you more growth potential but a bigger risk profile. So we try and mitigate that risk with the balance of those portfolios. But as a South African fund, we understand the South African market and will always have a South African focus,” he said.

Attacq yesterday reported a 19.9 percent growth in its net asset value a share to R12.89 in the six months to December from R10.75 in December 2012. The share price slumped 2.49 percent to close at R18.44 yesterday.