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JOHANNESBURG - Listed specialist industrial property developer and landlord Equites Property Fund has a development and acquisition pipeline of R930million in South Africa and R855m in the UK.

Andrea Taverna-Turisan, the chief executive of Equites, the only pure play logistics property company listed on the JSE, said yesterday that this demonstrated the commitment of the company to this asset class and the deal-making ability of its management.

To fund its growing development and acquisition pipeline, the company raised R1.015billion in a heavily oversubscribed accelerated book build in August last year.

The group targets a conservative loan-to-value of between 25percent and 35percent and consequently had a 23.5percent loan to value at year end.

Taverna-Turisan said Equites aimed to continue providing investors with pure exposure to modern logistics properties, an asset class that had proven its resilience and was growing exponentially globally.

He said Equites continued to see strong demand for modern distribution centres in the major logistics nodes in both South Africa and the UK.

Taverna-Turisan said this growth was driven by the evolution of the retail supply chain, which placed emphasis on modern logistics facilities driving efficiencies in the process and the accelerating impact of e-commerce.

He added that Equites had positioned itself as a logistics asset provider of choice in South Africa as it had demonstrated the ability to meet major tenants’ requirements to upgrade to modern facilities with high specification levels, which improved the efficiency of their operations.

Growth

Equites yesterday reported a 12.2percent growth in distribution a share to 123.86cents for the year to February from 110.37c in the previous year.

It said this distribution growth was attributable to like-for-like rental growth contributing 9percent to overall distribution per share growth, the disposal of three commercial properties and raising capital at a premium to net asset value, which created a differential between the marginal cost of debt and the effective yield of the equity price achieved.

Equites achieved a 30percent growth in the fair value of its property portfolio in the year from R6.2bn to R8.1bn.

Taverna-Turisan said the strong property fundamentals across the portfolio were testament to the quality of the assets, with 89percent of revenue derived from blue chip tenants on long leases and 76.1percent of leases expiring more than four years into the future.

Shares in Equites dropped 0.68percent yesterday on the JSE to close at R20.45.

- BUSINESS REPORT