Friedrich Esterhuyse, the joint chief executive of Tradehold, said yesterday the company had started a restructuring process to strip out and separately list its financial services interests to create more focused businesses, each with its own, clear identity.
However, Esterhuyse stressed this was only the first step in the reorganisation of the group, which was aimed at strengthening its focus on its core markets in the UK and South Africa. “Our financial services investments have always been dominated by our property interests, which constitute 92 percent of total gross assets.
“Through the restructuring, we want to achieve greater visibility for and public understanding of the financial services we offer, their value and potential,” he said. Esterhuyse said although the financial services assets were at this stage still relatively small, a pipeline of potential acquisitions had been identified and negotiations were already under way with some of these businesses.
He said the financial services assets would be housed in VestIN, a company acquired for this purpose from its owners Osiris Property Services that has a primary listing on the Bermudan Stock Exchange and a secondary listing on the JSE’s AltX.
Esterhuyse said VestIN was currently a cash shell, but its name would be changed and subsequently unbundled to Tradehold shareholders while retaining its present listings. He said this would result in Tradehold shareholders receiving shares in the new company equal to the number of shares held in Tradehold.
“Although the shareholders of both companies will initially be the same, VestIN’s shares will in no way be linked to those of Tradehold,” he said. Esterhuyse said Tradehold was also at present in negotiations to dispose of non core assets and acquire additional property assets to both increase the size of the business and stimulate growth in its core markets.
“Our property business in the UK is performing well. Despite concerns over Brexit, we have made excellent progress in letting vacant space throughout our portfolio, in particular in our two major shopping centres. “We are also continuing to grow our portfolio, the most recent acquisition being Waverley Mall in the historic centre of Edinburgh. Acquired in a joint venture within the Moolman Group, the property is fully let.
“Our serviced office division, with its focus on central London, is proving to be a game-changer and continues growing its contribution to group income,” he said.
Esterhuyse said they were equally pleased with the performance of the Collins Group’s diversified portfolio of 148 properties in South Africa.
Tradehold’s financial services interests are held in companies in the UK and South Africa. In South Africa, Tradehold wholly-owns Mettle Investments, while in the UK, through Reward Investments, it owns 70 percent of three operating units. These businesses offer services, including financial technology, renewable energy finance, asset management and specialist lending, with the UK currently accounting for about two thirds of net income.
Its property assets are held in three wholly-owned companies, Moorgarth Holdings in the UK, Tradehold Africa operating in Africa outside South Africa, and the Collins Group in South Africa. Shares in Tradehold rose 3.68% on the JSE yesterday to close at R17.48.