Calgro M3's residential pipeline comprises 54 376 opportunities. Photo: Leon Nicholas/African News Agency (ANA)
JOHANNESBURG - Listed property and property-related investment holding company Calgro M3 has expanded its memorial parks business to include two more provinces and expressed its appetite to develop insurance-related products for the business by partnering with insurance specialists.

Wikus Lategan, the chief executive of Calgro, said it had increased the total number of memorial parks owned and managed by the group through the acquisition of the Durbanville Memorial Park in the Western Cape earlier this year, and the Bloemfontein Memorial Park formerly known as The Avalon last month.

Lategan said that the group had plans in place to acquire further parks in KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and in Gauteng, specifically Tshwane, in line with its objective of making dignified burial sites available.

However, Lategan said that they wanted to ensure these recent acquisitions and existing operations within the various regions were well-established before moving on to further acquisitions and therefore only envisaged further expansion late next year or early 2020.

Lategan added that the application to obtain underground burial rights at the Bloemfontein Memorial Park was currently in progress and would broaden market proposition in the Free State.

He said Calgro had also acquired the shareholding owned by Nexus Capital Holdings, its partner in the Nasrec Memorial Park south of Johannesburg, for R63.6million to strengthen existing operations.

Calgro was keen to develop insurance-related products for the business by partnering with insurance specialists.

Insurance industry

“Besides the actual funerals, there is a flourishing funeral insurance industry in the country. Funeral insurance is the most popular insurance cover in South Africa, and according to research, this part of the insurance industry is worth more than R7billion,” he said.

The group expanded its operations in 2015 to include memorial parks alongside its residential developments and real estate investments focused on rental housing operations.

Lategan said Calgro’s management intended maintaining a strong focus on the memorial parks business with the aim of achieving equal profit contributions from all three of its businesses.

Shares in Calgro dropped 0.50percent on the JSE yesterday to close at R13.92.