Attacq’s results benefit from its revised strategy of consolidation and repositioning

Waterfall City in Midrand

JSE-listed property company Attacq Limited is benefiting from its revised strategy of consolidation and repositioning after taking cognizance of lessons learned, internalised its development team, cleaned up the portfolio and entered the 2018 financial year with a focused approach.

“The business model has been simplified, creating the platform for future growth centred on our four value drivers namely our quality South African portfolio, strategic investment in MAS, Waterfall development pipeline, which is Attacq’s unique value proposition, and our retail investments in the rest of Africa. We are excited about our conversion to a real estate investment trust (REIT) and believe our revised strategy is well positioned to unlock considerable value to shareholders in future,” says Morné Wilken, CEO of Attacq.

Attacq, which is developing Waterfall City and Waterfall Logistics Hub today announced annual results for the year ended 30 June 2017. Adjusted NAVPS increased by 3.2% from R21.89 to R22.59 and NAVPS by 3.2% from R19.23 to R19.84 year-on-year. The company portfolio comprises a quality South African operational portfolio, its Waterfall development portfolio, strategic investment in MAS and retail investments in the rest of Africa.

“The growth in our net asset value per share was negatively impacted by the strong Rand, marked-to-market losses on our interest rate swaps and impairments on certain investments in the rest of Africa and Central Europe.  This was countered by growth in our quality South African portfolio, the completion of a further 4 properties in Waterfall and the strategic investment in MAS,” Wilken says.

Attacq has a diverse South African portfolio across sectors with 58.6% in retail, 33.8% in office and mixed-use, 5.2% in light industrial and 2.4% in the hotel sector. At the end of the reporting period, the current weighted average lease expiry profile was marginally lower at 6.4 years compared to 6.7 years in 2016.  Overall portfolio vacancies, measured in terms of primary gross lettable area (“PGLA”), increased by 4 690 m² to 3.0%. After year end 4 431 m² of PGLA was let, reducing vacancies as a percentage of total PGLA to 2.4%.

During the year four newly developed buildings were added to the portfolio, increasing the value of the existing South African operational portfolio to R18.1 billion from R17.1 billion.

Net rental income, including straight-line lease income adjustments, increased by 17.9% to R1.3 billion. A year-on-year comparison of the net rental income is however less meaningful, due to the four buildings that were completed during the current year and the inclusion of the Mall’s operational results for only two months in the previous financial year.

“The disposal of our Serbia and Cyprus investments, the shareholding in Nova Eventis post year end as well as some mature, non-core assets in South Africa formed part of our repositioning. The proceeds from the disposals were used to reduce our debt in preparation for our REIT conversion,” stated Wilken.

Gearing, calculated as total interest-bearing debt less cash on hand as a percentage of total assets, improved from 39.9% to 37.1% year-on-year. The weighted average cost of funding remained flat over the last 12 months at 9.2% (2016: 9.2%).

“At year end 90.8% of our debt was fixed by way of fixed interest rate loans and interest rate swaps across debt providers. Our interest rate hedging policy remains conservative and forms part of our risk mitigation strategy. We have also embarked on a process of amending our existing debt facilities to interest only facilities.  We believe we are well positioned to navigate the current uncertain macro-economic and political environment,” said Melt Hamman, CFO of Attacq.

Waterfall’s location and ease of access create an attractive value proposition for the creation of a new city in the centre of Gauteng, i.e. Waterfall City, an integrated city that works, as well as the Waterfall Logistics Hub – Gauteng’s logistic hub of choice. Attacq has approximately 1 million m² of remaining developable bulk in the Waterfall area.  This bulk is ungeared and 608 000 m² is already serviced and ready for the value accretive roll out of commercial, residential and industrial developments.

The Waterfall development portfolio value increased by R202.9 million to R3.6 billion, comprising 13.0% of total gross assets.