Roy Cokayne

EMIRA grew its distributions per participatory interest by 7.5 percent to R1.2318 in the year to June, from R1.1459 in the previous year, the listed property fund said yesterday.

The rate of growth in distributions was an improvement on the 6.5 percent achieved in the six months to December.

James Templeton, the chief executive of Emira, attributed the substantial increase in distributable income in the year to contractual escalations on the bulk of the portfolio, significant leasing progress made during the period, stringent cost control, including savings from its property management tender, investments in upgrades to prime properties and the disposal of non-core properties.

He said Emira had improved vacancies in the portfolio to 4.5 percent in June from 10.2 percent in June 2012.

Templeton said this was the lowest vacancy rate achieved by the fund since 2005 and represented a substantial decline in vacancies of 67 575m2, which was driven by leasing in the office and industrial sectors.

Tenant retention had also improved to 80 percent from 78 percent.

Thirty-three leases on areas exceeding 2 000m2 had been concluded during the year, comprising a total area of 150 000m2 with a lease value of R508 million.

Acquisitions totalled R705m at a forward yield of 8.7 percent. Total building sales were valued at R501m, which would fund acquisitions and developments, Templeton said.

Emira rose 2.75 percent to close at R14.93 yesterday.