PRETORIA – Growthpoint, the listed property company, is poised to dispose of a sectorally diverse portfolio of 58 properties for R5.8 billion to a black economic empowerment (BEE) consortium that plans to list it separately.

Nobert Sasse, the group chief executive of Growthpoint, said yesterday that the discussions with the consortium were at an advanced stage and Growthpoint would remain invested in it either through providing some debt or holding some equity.

“The idea is not to be an equity investor, but we might have some mezzanine debt, or whatever it is, somewhere between 20 percent and 30 percent,” he said.

Estienne de Klerk, the chief executive of Growthpoint South Africa, said the members of the consortium would bring a whole portfolio of their own, with the stated intention of having a potential initial public offering and a separate listing. “But a lot of water has to run into the sea before that is a done deal. It’s not the easiest thing to put a deal like that together in this environment and get it all funded,” he said.

De Klerk said Growthpoint hoped to be able to make an announcement about it in about two months.

The disposal of this R5.8bn portfolio is separate to the R2.5bn in properties Growthpoint held for sale at end-June, some of which had now been transferred.

Assets

Growthpoint also sold R1.5bn of property assets during the year to June, but acquired six property assets for a total of R1.3bn. Growthpoint’s South African portfolio is valued at R78bn.

De Klerk emphasised that Growthpoint’s asset disposal was not an indication that it was not investing in South Africa.

Sasse added that Growthpoint was spending R2bn on development, of which R1.4bn comprised new developments and a further about R700m to keep its current portfolio “up to scratch”.

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- BUSINESS REPORT