JOHANNESBURG - Growthpoint Properties, the largest South African real estate investment trust (Reit) listed on the JSE with assets on three continents, has established a dedicated trading and development business unit.

Estienne de Klerk, the chief executive of Growthpoint South Africa, said yesterday that the new specialised division would play a key role in creating excellent business opportunities for the company and world-class premises for its clients.

Until now, Growthpoint’s in-house trading and development skills were held within each sector of the company’s portfolio, including office, retail and industrial. The new business unit would combine and integrate Growthpoint’s cross-sector development and trading expertise to optimise its business strengths.

De Klerk said the new business unit would enable Growthpoint to provide their clients with an extra service that met their needs. “Besides providing existing buildings, we can create new buildings for them that meet their very specific, bespoke requirements.”

De Klerk added that Growthpoint’s trading and development team was a key part of their business and had played a significant role in building the company’s portfolio. He said Growthpoint’s goal was to generate consistent, recurring income from third-party development fees and trading profit that totalled no more than 1percent to 2percent of its distributable income.

Rudolf Pienaar, the new chief investment and development officer at Growthpoint, said development played a key role in Growthpoint’s South African investment strategy with tailor-made assets designed to enhance its portfolio and retain and attract quality clients.

However, Pienaar said that in working closely with its clients Growthpoint had found that some of their needs went beyond a simple tenancy. He said their company policy may require them to own certain types of properties; they might need to dispose of a property asset to become a tenant of Growthpoint, or they could require specialised premises that could only be custom-developed.