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CAPE TOWN – MAS Real Estate said on Tuesday that its board had undertaken an “in-depth review” of the company's strategy and decided that the continued expansion into Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), combined with full divestment from Western Europe, was the most appropriate strategy for the group going forward.

“The increased geographical focus in the higher growth CEE markets, with a predominant focus on retail, provides the group the best opportunity to continue to meet its long-term objectives of sustainable growth in distributable earnings per share,” said MAS.

The distribution of 8.75 euro cents (R1.42) per share was on track for the current financial year, and MAS had set itself a 3-year target of growing this distribution per share by 30 percent for the year ending June 30, 2022, from the current targeted level.

The targeted growth was not likely to be linear, given the strategy changes that included a phased re-deployment of capital from Western Europe, and other factors such as Western Europe properties being sold timeously, and there being macro-economic stability.

Recently appointed chief executive Werner Behrens said: “My aim is for MAS to become the pre-eminent real estate investment and development company in CEE, focused on delivering sustainable and superior distribution growth to our shareholders.”

MAS also announced yesterday that it had entered into a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with Prime Kapital Holdings to acquire an option to purchase PK’s effective 20percent interest in the investment joint venture, together with the PK management platform, for an option premium of 2million (R32.51m).

“”The PKM Developments pipeline in CEE continues to grow and the board is satisfied with the strong performance of the venture.

"With high-quality opportunities abundant, MAS has agreed to increase its commitment by a further 120 million."

MAS shares closed 3.54percent higher at R21.08 on the JSE yesterday.