Equites Property Fund lifts distributions as portfolio value swells
Equites Property Fund, which owns logistics properties in SA and the UK, said on Thursday it grew distributions per share by 11.8% in the year to end-February as the value of its portfolio surged.
The real estate investment trust said the value of its portfolio rose 47.6% to R12bn thanks in part to the fledgling UK business, which now accounts for 32.7% of the portfolio.
Equites, led by Andrea Taverna-Turisan, is banking on rising demand for distribution centres in SA and the UK as online retailing continues to eat into the traditional retail market.
Distributions were boosted by like-for-like rental growth, acquisitions and developments, lower debt costs, and the group’s new “progressive UK distributable earnings hedging policy”, it said.
Equites said its property fundamentals “have markedly improved”, with the weighted average lease expiry increasing to 8.8 years and the vacancy rate falling to 0.9% post year-end.
The group said it expects distribution per share to grow at least 8%-10% in the year to February 2020.
That excludes a possible “significant rental increase” at a UK property. “The group is currently engaged in discussions with Tesco Distribution in the UK to review the rent payable for its property in Hinckley, which is subject to an upwards-only open-market review,” it said.