JOHANNESBURG - Listed retail property fund Hyprop anticipates taking a decision within the next six months on the possible separate listing of UK-based Hystead, the company housing its European investments.

Hyprop owns a 60percent stake in Hystead which, once the post end-December reporting period acquisition of two shopping centres in Zagreb in Croatia were transferred, would own a portfolio with a gross asset value of 740million (R10.8billion).

Pieter Prinsloo, the chief executive of Hyprop, said on Friday the rationale for the listing of Hystead was to position it for future growth, without relying on Hyprop’s capital.

Prinsloo said Hyprop would be unable to provide future funding to Hystead without it increasing its loan to value significantly, and would probably be looking to raise between 150m and 200m through the listing.

He said they had done a lot of the groundwork for the listing of Hystead and could potentially list the fund within the next six months.

But Prinsloo said market conditions were not the best and if the appetite was there and they could raise the capital, “we will go for it”.

Hyprop would retain a significant shareholding in Hystead when it listed, probably 51 percent or 49percent, and be the biggest shareholder in the fund, he said.

Prinsloo added that it would then be easy for Hyprop in future to regulate its shareholding, because it wanted to keep its overall offshore exposure at between 20to 30 percent.

“If Hystead takes off and grows exponentially, we might not always follow our rights and grow with the fund. We might reach a cap at a point and say this is enough in offshore exposure,” he said.

Between its investments in Africa, outside South Africa and in Eastern Europe, about 22percent of Hyprop’s assets are offshore.

With the success it was having in Eastern Europe, Prinsloo said the shift would be more to Eastern Europe for better opportunities.

Shares in Hyprop increased 2.27percent on Friday to close at R112.