Commercial News

JSE-LISTED European real estate fund Stenprop may become a takeover target, as large South African funds try to gain offshore exposure.

CEO Paul Arenson said on Thursday the fund had a portfolio of high-quality assets and deep knowledge of large western European markets, which appealed to firms trying to gain a foothold on the continent.

“We have had a few approaches,” Arenson said.

“I think our assets are very strong, and we have developed very strong relationships in major cities in western Europe, which appeal to some larger players,” he said.

“But right now, we are continuing our strategy of providing good dividend and earnings growth for investors.”

Stenprop focuses on property investments in the UK, Germany, and Switzerland.

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On Thursday, it released financial results for the year to March, in which it beat market expectations with dividend growth of 6%, double its earlier growth guidance. The company declared a final dividend on June 8 2016 of 4.7c per share.

Together with the interim dividend declared on November 26 2015 of 4.2c, this resulted in a total dividend for the year to March of 8.90c per share.

Headline earnings per share worth 9.58c were achieved, nearly 17% higher than the comparable 2015 figure of 8.20c.

Net rental income of €39.6m was earned, up strongly from the March 2015 financial year number of €19.3m. The company reported profit after tax of €49.6m, 32% higher than the comparative 2015 period’s €37.7m figure.

Following the completion of the purchase of Trafalgar Court in March 2015 for £61.4m, Stenprop concluded three further acquisitions in the reporting period under consideration.

These were two shopping centres in Berlin with a total purchase price of €43.3m and a 50% interest in an entity that owns an office building at 25 Argyll Street in the West End of London, valued at acquisition at £75m.

Stanlib’s head of listed property funds, Keillen Ndlovu, said Stenprop remained an attractive investment because of its exposure to strong assets in Germany and London.

“Offshore property valuations look more attractive on both a net asset value and yield basis,” he said.

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