Bronwyn Corbett.    Picture: SUPPLIED
Bronwyn Corbett. Picture: SUPPLIED

Pan-African property group Mara Delta is renaming itself Grit Real Estate and has aspirations to list in the UK, says CEO Bronwyn Corbett.

Grit’s portfolio has grown from five assets worth $130m to 19 worth just more than $600m since listing in June 2014.

Corbett said a London listing would give it access to equity investment from large institutions interested in investing in Africa. Its market capitalisation is about R3.4bn.

"We want to list on the main board of the London Stock Exchange. Sentiment is starting to turn in Africa’s favour again and we feel we would offer access to dollar-denominated returns from a high quality portfolio of assets across a continent that is growing. Africa’s population is young and the continent is set to offer much for global investors for years to come."

Corbett said Grit had grown substantially over the past year.

We now have critical mass and anticipate raising capital less regularly in the market.

"We have recently completed a $121m capital raise to mainly settle pipeline acquisitions. This will boost our asset portfolio to over $600m in value. We believe Grit must deliver a balance of international gravitas to investors while ensuring African credibility and authenticity."

Grit has invested in five African countries and wants to invest in more.

The company has headquarters in Grand Baie, Mauritius. It has steadily increased its investments in Mauritius, with assets there accounting for 21% of its total asset value. They include a 44.4% stake in three four-star Beachcomber hotels, Le Victoria, Le Canonnier and Le Mauricia and full ownership of one four-star Lux Resorts hotel in Tamassa, These assets are leased back by their operators, which means Grit has no direct exposure to hospitality risk.

The company wanted to be less reliant on capital raises and would focus on growing net asset value, bedding down pipeline acquisitions and increasing liquidity, said Corbett.

"We now have critical mass and anticipate raising capital less regularly in the market."

Chris Segar of Ivy Asset Management said Grit had gained experience in various territories, having been the only Africa-focused property company listed on the JSE. However, it was still relatively small and needed to improve its liquidity.

"What concerns me is that in the last rights issue only 64% of their shareholders took up their rights and the underwriters had to take up the remainder."

The group’s share price is down 10.57% so far in 2017.

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