Stor-Age delivers strong operating performance in SA, UK
CAPE TOWN - Stor-Age, South Africa’s largest self storage property fund, delivered a “strong operating performance” locally and in the UK in the year to March 31.
“We expect full year distributable earnings to be about R440 million, growing by about 13.5 percent from the prior year, and the full year dividend per share to be about 112 cents, up 5 percent on the prior year,” chief executive Gavin Lucas said in a statement on Monday.
The South African portfolio occupancy was at 85 percent, with an increase in occupied space of more than 9 500 square metres, and the closing rental rate up 6 percent year-on-year.
In the UK, the closing portfolio occupancy was 78.8 percent. Excluding the acquisition of Flexi Store, occupied space rose 800 square metres with average occupancy up over 4 percent year-on-year, while the closing rental rate was up 1 percent on a like-for-like basis.
Loan to value was low at 30 percent.
In December 2019, the UK acquisition of the five property Flexi Store portfolio was closed at £13.4m and performance to date had broadly been in line with expectations.
In South Africa, the group''s properties remained accessible throughout the lockdown for tenants either storing essential goods or providing essential services. Properties in the UK also remained open, but under strict operating conditions.
An online e-sign capability for the completion of new leases allowed for a “contactless” digital sign-up and move-in process.
Increased costs attributable to sanitising, protective equipment and updated on-site signage had been more than offset by reduced marketing spend, mainly in “pay-per-click” advertising costs.
In April, 92.2 percent and 98 percent of rental due in South Africa and the UK were collected, respectively.
Lucas said, “The defensive and resilient nature of the business model, as evidenced by our cash collections in April and the high levels of new enquiries and new-lets in the current month to date, means we are well placed to navigate the challenges that lie ahead.”