Grit Real Estate, the only listed Africa-focused property fund, has declared its seventh consecutive dividend since its formation in 2014.
Grit, formerly called Mara Delta, declared a total dividend for the year of $12.07 per share, up 2.7%.
"We are very pleased with the strong performance of the underlying portfolio during some challenging times over the period," said CEO Bronwyn Corbett. Despite economic headwinds, especially in Mozambique, the group’s consistent focus on asset management opportunities resulted in the conclusion of negotiations on several lease renewals including two 10-year renewals with Vodacom and KPMG "on favourable terms".
This was further supported by the performance of assets transferred during the period, said Corbett.
"Our entrance into the euro-denominated Mauritian hospitality market through sale and lease-back transactions further derisked the portfolio through diversification whilst continuing our ability to secure true hard currency income streams."
Grit owned properties worth $492m in Mozambique, Mauritius, Morocco, Kenya and Zambia in the year to June 2017, up from $295m in 2016. After transfers concluded in August, total property investment came to $546m. Grit forecast distribution growth of 3%-5% in 2018.
Chris Segar, a portfolio manager at Ivy Asset Management, said Grit’s asset base growth had provided sector-based diversity into hotels as well as a distribution centre and the acquisitions had resulted in a longer weighted average lease expiry.
"Grit has strengthened its management team over the past couple of years and as the asset base grows, Grit should become more scalable and efficient in managing costs."