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

Grit Real Estate, the JSE’s only pan-African property fund, will take a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange as it seeks a larger investor base to grow its portfolio.

The Mauritian-based property group, which will also keep a primary listing on the JSE, has battled to raise money in SA since it listed in 2014 for acquisitions in the rest of Africa.

CEO Bronwyn Corbett said on Tuesday that London Stock Exchange investors were starting to warm to African-focused companies.

“Since we started it’s been difficult to attract South African investors as many of them have favoured other parts of the world such as eastern Europe, fearing there was too much risk in Africa and not enough investable stock.

“But we have built up an attractive portfolio and managed to get LSE investors interested in our story,” she said.

Corbett said Grit wanted to grow its portfolio to R40bn within three years from about R13bn today and she hoped the listing would attract new investors and fresh capital.

Grit will be added to the FTSE Frontier Index, which will attract index trackers and boost its share price, Corbett said.

Grit would gain a position on the FTSE/JSE South African Listed Property Index alongside the other best-rated property companies on the JSE. This could also lead to a boost in its share price, according to Evan Robins of Old Mutual Investment Group.

Corbett said Grit had reached a milestone, having spun out of Delta Property Fund with only two assets, one in Mozambique and another in Morocco, together worth less than R2bn in 2014. It now has assets in seven African countries worth about R13bn and will soon enter its eighth jurisdiction, Senegal.

Corbett said the London listing, which would be accompanied by the issue of 250-million new ordinary shares, would raise at least $120m. The funds will be used to fund acquisitions in Ghana.

The London Stock Exchange listing date would be announced in the coming weeks.

Chris Segar, a portfolio manager at Ivy Asset Management, said Grit’s asset growth had been impressive since it listed. He said the group had achieved “sector-based diversity into hotels and distribution centres”.

The group owns hotels, shopping centres, offices and distribution centres in countries including Botswana, Mozambique, Morocco and Ghana.

andersona@businesslive.co.za