Accelerate reported year-on-year distribution growth of 7,3%, translating into a distribution per share of 57.57 cents, up from 53.67 cents year-on-year.
Accelerate’s property portfolio has grown to R11.6 billion, resulting in a 38% increase for the comparative period. The increase is largely due to Accelerate’s initial offshore investment of R1.25 billion, the acquisition of approximately 50% of the iconic Portside tower in Cape Town for R755 million, Eden Meander retail centre in George and the Citibank building in Sandton.
“Notwithstanding the tough current macroeconomic environment, we remained focused on active asset management. Our aim is to continually improve the quality of our portfolio through quality acquisitions and the sale of non-core properties.
“This year was a very important year for Accelerate. We diversified our portfolio offshore by creating a bespoke strategy to invest in long-term single tenant net leased properties that are strategic to blue-chip multinational or large regional tenants in Central and Eastern Europe. On the local front, we have also made excellent progress with the Fourways Mall redevelopment and continued with our drive for quality,” said Andrew Costa, Chief Operating Officer of Accelerate Property Fund.
Our nodal strategy remains our key local differentiating factor. The Company focuses on nodes that are deemed to have good economic fundamentals and superior growth potential. The strategy allows for economies of scales within these nodes where any investment in improving specific properties, infrastructure or services is to the benefit of other assets owned by the Company in the same area.
The constant focus on tenant optimisation and letting activity resulted in vacancies (net of structural vacancies) marginally decreasing to 6,9% from 7,1% whilst the weighted average lease period improved from 5,1 to 5,6 years during the reporting period. The company’s cost-to-income ratio of 16,9% is in line with the market.
The Fourways Mall redevelopment is well underway having opened Bounce and the food court during the reporting period. Infrastructure upgrades in excess of R280 million are underway, including a flyover from Witkoppen Road directly into the new multi-level parking.
“The completed Fourways super-regional mall will anchor the Fourways node, attracting top-quality tenants in the retail and office segments,” said Costa.
In February 2017 Accelerate announced the acquisition of the Murray & Roberts building in the Cape Town Foreshore which together with Accelerate’s existing properties in the node, lends itself to a large scale commercial and residential development opportunity. In addition, the Fund has acquired a Sandton office building anchored by Citibank. Both these acquisitions are strategic and represent Accelerate’s focus to acquire quality enhancing properties.