Rebosis Property Fund said its chief executive Sisa Ngebulana and chief investment officer Robert Becker had resigned from the New Frontier board. Picture: Nicholas Rama
CAPE TOWN - Rebosis Property Fund said yesterday that its chief executive Sisa Ngebulana and chief investment officer Robert Becker had resigned from the New Frontier board with effect from July 11, following the group’s plan to sell its 49.4percent stake in New Frontier Properties for R700.

Rebosis’ share price slumped 4.4percent yesterday morning to 65c following the announcement. The price represents a long drop from more than R12 per share it traded two years ago, and it closed the day at 63c.

The deal to sell the New Frontier stake, and the resignation of the two directors, means Rebosis has cut all ties to the struggling UK mall-owning firm.

New Frontier, listed on the JSE’s Alternative Exchange, said in a separate announcement that Henry Dednam would hold 20.35percent of New Frontier shares while Orion Hotels & Resorts (Africa) would hold 29percent, following the exit of Rebosis as a shareholder.

New Frontier, also listed on the Mauritius Stock Exchange, said on Friday that it had made a £60.05million (R1.05billion) loss in the nine months to May 31, 2019, compared with a £4.26m profit in the same period in 2018. The loss arose from write-downs on the group’s property investments.

New Frontier said it was being supported by its lenders, but warned that it might go into administration if its lenders no longer support it. Its share price was untraded at R2.50 yesterday on the JSE - in 2017 it was trading at well above R20 per share.

“The shopping centre investment market is extremely shallow and combined with there being limited debt funding available for the sector at this time, investment yields have continued to move out, resulting in a negative impact on valuations,” New Frontier management said.

“The company is actively engaging with its lenders, local authorities and tenants to produce the best outcome for its stakeholders in this challenging period,” they added. Rebosis had acquired UK shopping mall company New Frontier for R1.2bn in 2015.

Rebosis Property Fund, the first black-owned and managed property group to list on the local bourse, has been selling assets to improve its flagging performance and to reduce its high loan to value.

In May it announced the sale of three shopping centres: Mdantsane City, Sunnypark and Bloedstreet Mall. In February, Rebosis said it would sell properties worth R700m in a bid to reduce loan to value.