Occupancy rate remains high at Emira Properties
CAPE TOWN - EMIRA Property Fund said occupancy in its portfolio remained high, with vacancies slightly up at 4.5 percent in the first three months of its 2021 financial year, versus 4.1 percent at the past June 2020 year-end.
Vacancies were anticipated to trend upwards over the balance of the new financial year. The full effects of the pandemic and lockdown levels on tenants was still uncertain, as the environment remained challenging for them, Emira directors said yesterday in an operational update for the three months to September 30. The diversified nature of Emira’s investments, sectorally and geographically, including its offshore exposure and its co-investment model, had proved defensive, given that some sectors and regions were harder hit than others, they said. “Emira remains focussed on the strength of its balance sheet, maintaining occupancy levels and collecting rentals,” directors said.
In its direct local portfolio, amounting to 78 percent of its investments, a further R15.3 million had been granted in rental concessions (R12.1m to the end of September). These were in the form of permanent rental remissions, granted on a case-by-case basis to tenants whose operations were particularly hard hit by the lockdown restrictions. Retaining tenants and attracting new ones had come at a cost with the weighted average total reversions for the first quarter at an overall -10.9 percent, a decline from -5.1 percent on June 30, 2020. Rental reversions in the retail sector were the highest, driven by the restructuring of Emira’s five Edcon leases. The weighted average lease expiry reduced slightly to 2.5 years at September 30, from
2.7 years at June 30. Average annual lease escalations remained at 7.3 percent, but these were under pressure and were expected to reduce. Outstanding debtors increased to R79.4m at September 30 (June: R63.7m), a position that had improved to R73.5m outstanding at the end of October. “While it is still early days, it is pleasing to see that 77.7 percent of the deferred rentals billed in the first quarter have been collected, increasing to 80.1 percent at the end of October.”