Accelerate banks on its revamp of Fourways Mall
Accelerate Property Fund is banking on the redevelopment of Fourways Mall to bring in returns for investors from 2019.
The company has struggled to reward shareholders over the past few years and chief operating officer Andrew Costa is pinning the company’s medium-term future on the success of the mall, which will be close to R180,000m² and valued at R9bn when it is completed in September 2018.
Accelerate’s share price, although volatile, is now trading at a similar level to when it listed in December 2013. The share price closed flat on Wednesday at R5.25.
The centre’s revamp will be Accelerate’s main asset in the Fourways node. Accelerate also owns Buzz Shopping Centre and Cedar Square in that suburb.
More than R30m is being spent on the refurbishment of the existing Fourways Mall, and more than R250m is being spent on the adjacent road infrastructure around the mall.
Costa, who was speaking at the release of financial results for the year to March, said the fund had nearly completed the redevelopment of the mall and it was nearly 93% let.
Costs to redevelop the centre had kept Accelerate’s dividend growth flat during the reporting period but there had nevertheless been a strong performance from Accelerate’s core portfolio.
Accelerate declared a dividend of 57.56c per share for the year to March, in line with guidance.
"I know our dividend growth has been flat but this will gain momentum as our assets come on line," said Costa.
"Our core portfolio performed well in a challenging economic and socio-political environment in South Africa, while our offshore portfolio performed well above expectations, and is the foundation of a solid, scalable international platform," he said. The firm would focus on investing in nodes including the Fourways node in Johannesburg and its secondary node, the Foreshore in Cape Town.
Costa said: "The Fourways Mall redevelopment remains the key focus for the fund and the node around this property continues to demonstrate impressive economic fundamentals and potential." The mall’s redevelopment includes more family entertainment.
Evan Robins of Old Mutual Investment Group said Accelerate had taken a long time to develop the Fourways Mall, which had placed pressure on its returns.
"Fourways is growing and densifying and it makes sense to expand the mall," he said.