Redefine has received the Reserve Bank's approval. Photo: Supplied

Redefine Properties has placed on hold its planned disposal of its R3 billion portfolio of government-tenanted offices although it still plans to sell them.

The JSE-listed property company has also received approval from the Reserve Bank (SARB) for its strategy of investing in offshore properties that will allow it to invest up to 25 percent of its market capitalisation, equating to R7.5bn, in offshore property.

Marc Wainer, the chief executive, said yesterday the approval by the Reserve Bank took two-and-a-half days and now had “considerable ammunition at our disposal approved by the SARB if we find the right opportunity”.

He said its international strategy had paid dividends. “Instead of having an inwardly listed portfolio, if we can find enough opportunities, Redefine Properties could actually be looked at as a fund that has a large international presence and have a much bigger rand hedge strategy.”

Wainer said it would be looking for opportunities in Australia and Europe for “the right deal”. He said originally he had indicated a ceiling of 15 percent but would now be happy with 20 percent to 25 percent if it was the right deal.

Redefine Properties has about R3.4bn invested in Redefine International and R3.2bn in Australia including its direct investment in Northpoint.

Turning to its government-tenanted portfolio, Wainer said the disposal had been placed on hold because its planned black economic empowerment partner was unable to come up with the required equity and at the same time the government decided to enter into three-year leases across the board on their portfolio while they evaluated it.

Wainer said the firm now had leases in place for about 60 percent of its government portfolio where previously it was a monthly or one-year lease and it was in negotiations with government for leases on a further 90 000m2.

“While we still want to sell the government portfolio, the urgency has gone out and we will sell those properties over time in small parcels,” he said.

The firm yesterday reported an 8 percent increase in distributions a linked unit to 36.4 cents in the six months to February from 33.70c in the previous corresponding period, which exceeded its market guidance.

This was achieved through the enhancement of portfolio fundamentals and operating efficiencies, significant rand hedge gains and good results from international investments.

The internalisation of electricity recoveries resulted in operating costs being contained to 19 percent of total revenue compared with 20 percent in the same period last year.

Redefine unitholders have for the first time been given the option to reinvest cash distribution in return for units.

Shares climbed 3.05 percent to close at R10.15 yesterday.