Grit, the listed pan-African property income company focusing on African real estate assets is assessing an acquisition opportunity in Ghana.
JOHANNESBURG - Grit, the listed pan-African property income company focusing on African real estate assets excluding South Africa is assessing an acquisition opportunity in Ghana.

Jaco van Zyl, the deputy chief financial officer of Grit, said yesterday that an announcement on the potential Ghana asset was “imminent”.

Van Zyl added that Grit expected to secure a few assets in the next few months and hoped to go to market very soon with some positive news.

The company, which has exposure to Morocco, Mozambique, Mauritius, Kenya and Zambia, and entered the Botswana market in the six months to December, holds dual primary listings on the JSE and Stock Exchange of Mauritius.

Asset acquisitions in the reporting period were partly responsible for driving an 82percent increase in rental income, including income from associates, with the value of the total portfolio increasing by 16.7percent to $592million (R7.1billion) from $508m.


Bronwyn Corbett, chief executive of Grit, said yesterday that there were three main contributors to the 82percent increase in rental income.

These were the rental incomes from acquisitions during the latter part of the preceding financial year and current six months under review; hard currency lease escalations achieved, particularly in Mozambique; and the maintenance of operating costs despite the larger portfolio, she said.

The asset acquisitions included Tamassa Resort in Mauritius, Cosmopolitan Mall in Zambia and Mall de Tete in Mozambique in the latter half of the previous financial year plus the transfer of Imperial Distribution Centre in Kenya and Beachcomber Hotels in Mauritius in August last year and the completion of Commodity House Phase two in November.

Corbett said Cosmopolitan Mall and the three Beachcomber assets were the main drivers of the increase in income from associates, with the remainder of the associate portfolio performing as expected.

Income from associates grew strongly to $8.9m in the six months to December from $2.5m.

Increased

Corbett said average monthly rental excluding the transfers increased 7percent in the six months to November compared to the prior period despite macroeconomic headwinds in Mozambique.

Property operating expenses declined to $2.74m from $2.94m despite the increased size of the portfolio.

Vacancies remained stable at 3.9percent of the overall portfolio. However, excluding structural vacancies because of the refurbishment of Anfa Place Shopping Centre, vacancies across the portfolio were at 1.3percent. Grit declared a dividend of $6.07c a share to achieve its target distribution for the half-year.

Corbett said they expected a better second half of the year because Imperial Distribution Centre and the Beachcomber asset transactions were not effective until August last year and Commodity House phase two only contributed to income from November last year.

Corbett said the focus of the company going forward would remain on asset management opportunities within the existing portfolio, together with initiatives in thriving African economies to support net asset value growth and ongoing portfolio diversification.

“The group has positioned itself to capitalise on the significant opportunities on the continent,” she said.

Corbett said the distribution growth was forecast to be between 3percent and 5percent in US dollars.

Shares in Grit rose 4.95percent on the JSE yesterday to close at R15.90.

- BUSINESS REPORT