“It has been another turbulent year for businesses across the globe, but with an outstanding team powering Equites through these circumstances, I am proud to look back on 2022 with a sense of tremendous accomplishment and the ability to report on sustained growth.
Notwithstanding the challenging macroeconomic environment that we have had to face over recent months, Equites has just traded through its busiest year since listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 2014, remaining consistent in delivering a best-in-class product—and I anticipate that 2023 will look much the same, if not better.”
Noteworthy successes in real estate development and continued business relationships
While there are many highlights from 2022 to recount, including the sale of some of our older assets and the redeploymeRE1T
nt of that capital into sustainability-linked, state-of-the-art, new assets, there are a handful that stand out to me as landmarks.
In no particular order, the first one to acknowledge is that, following our joint-venture agreement with Shoprite, we were appointed to develop a large-scale logistics warehouse facility in Gauteng, which will be leased to the retail giant on a long-term basis, substantially increasing the weighted average lease expiry period of our portfolio.
In addition, we acquired a distribution warehouse and land in Gqeberha, where we will extend the existing facility and develop a modern, state-of-the-art logistics campus for Shoprite who has similarly committed to a long-term lease of this property.
By virtue of the excellence and execution that the Equites team delivers, we have extended our relationship with multiple clients, including but not limited to The Foschini Group, Premier FMCG, and Digistics.
Human capital growth, our contributions to employment equity, and the upliftment of SMMEs
The Equites team continues to expand, with low staff turnover, while defying the norm within the property industry, in that our staff complement reflects a 50-50 split in gender representation.
Further, we continue to uphold our responsibility as a proactive corporate citizen in demonstrating our support of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE). Equites concluded a Statement 102 transaction with the sale of six of its Cape Town-based assets to Mabel, a 100% black-owned Level 1 B-BBEE consortium, thereby facilitating the creation of a young black entrepreneurial team—that will no doubt grow from strength to strength.
It is also worth sharing that we achieved a Level 3 B-BBEE score for 2022 with verified black ownership of 76%. This was an improvement from the previous reporting period of Level 4 with verified black ownership of 66%, additionally signifying our growth in representing the future South Africa.
In partnership with The Michel Lanfranchi Foundation, Equites continues to provide financial aid and mentoring through full-cost bursaries. We are proudly in our fifth year of running the “Equites Learnership” programme which is focused on equipping previously disadvantaged learners with valuable skills to enable them to acclimatise and settle into the workforce. This year we handed over a newly built science lab to the students of Marvin Park Primary School in Macassar and on 1 June pledged R500K towards the Peninsula Schools Feeding Association – a non-profit organisation that addresses childhood hunger at schools in the Cape.
Equites AmpCore, established in October 2020, continues its focus as per its slogan Amplifying Core Potential to assist and further develop local SMME’s in various fields of maintenance and soft services. The AmpCore program has become an important role player in contributing to the social and economic upliftment of the communities in which Equites operates. As a specialised REIT with a global footprint, we believe that we can make differences that will facilitate social mobility in our areas of influence. We remain committed to driving this through the Social Impact Management Framework by which the AmpCore programme will be guided.
On that note, it is always a highlight to see businesses that we have equipped through our enterprise development programme, sharing their success. I am ever so proud of our Western Cape development partner, Damon At Sons—a 100% black-owned construction company—who continues the pay-it-forward approach which we have initiated.
The driving force behind our accomplishments
It is incredibly rewarding to reflect on a year that included significant disruptions and yet to be in a position to speak of another impressive set of financial results and robust returns. So, I feel it is only appropriate that I acknowledge those who have made this possible.
I would like to express a special word of thanks to Leon Campher for his guidance and leadership as Chairman. We have had some new members join the Board and with that, have entered into a new chapter in a sense. To both past and present Board members, I also extend my heartfelt thanks. It was a privilege to have our entire Board travel to the UK in June, which proved to be a massive success, and we look forward to the invaluable guidance that the Board continues to offer the management team.
I would also like to thank my fellow executives, Riaan Gous and Laila Razack, and each of the Equites staff members for their dedication to delivering excellent work throughout the year. In addition, thanks must go to all of our business partners and service providers who share our vision and enable us to produce a best-in-class product.