Housing unit the weak link in SA Corporate results
CEO Rory Mackey warns a number of assets in the residential subsector are being held back by tough economic conditions
SA Corporate Real Estate, the diversified owner of industrial, retail, commercial and residential buildings located primarily in the big metropolitan areas of SA, with a secondary node in Zambia, grew its dividends 4.4% in the six months to June.
The company declared a dividend of 22.38c a share from 21.44c a share for the corresponding period in 2016.
The six-month performance was affected by nonrecurring income, resulting mainly from a recovery of written-off bad debt and increased vacancies in the company’s residential portfolio.
Historically, SA Corporate has been weighted towards retail and industrial nodes, but it has invested in residential real estate in recent years. Net property income increased 13.8% during the reporting period.
CEO Rory Mackey said the fund’s residential assets promised more growth in future but a number of assets in the subsector were being held back by tough economic conditions.
"We are committed to shareholder returns. So we need to rebalance and diversify our residential exposure and not just grow it. Part of this includes disposing of those of the inner-city assets which may face a problem like crime and then acquiring suburban residential."
Residential like-for-like growth amounted to 4.2%, negatively affected by residential vacancies, which rose 3.7%.
Retail had been its strongest performer and neighbourhood and convenience centres had been resilient.
Retail net property income growth of 19.7% was underpinned by tenant retention of 92.0%, weighted-average lease escalations of 7.6%, positive reversions of 6.6% and acquisitions contributing 8.3%.
The retail like-for-like, excluding the developments portfolio, grew 6.0%. Industrial like-for-like portfolio growth of 4.0% was supported by 8.0% rental escalations, tenant retention of 82.1%, flat reversions and 1.0% fewer vacancies.
Kelly Hook, an investment analyst at Metope Investment Managers, said the company delivered a solid performance on its traditional portfolio but the results from its residential affordable housing company subsidiary were disappointing.
"The retail portfolio in particular performed well. The company continues to look for avenues to strengthen and diversify their income streams, including an investment into the self-storage sector," she said.