Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

The SA Housing and Infrastructure Fund (Sahif) has expressed a non-binding interest to acquire JSE-listed company Freedom Property Fund, trading as FDP on the JSE main board.

Freedom, a property development company, listed in 2014 and was suspended after alleged mismanagement by previous CEO Tyrone Govender.

Sahif said it is looking to acquire all of the issued shares of Freedom by way of a scheme of arrangement, subject to a due diligence investigation.

The expression of interest is subject to an exclusivity period to Sahif of a maximum of 120 days from August 22 2019.

Freedom Property Fund Limited has a geographically diverse land portfolio, as well as income-producing property with a combined value of just over R1.5bn, as reported in the last released financial statements for the company.

Commenting on the potential acquisition, Sahif CFO Kameel Keshav said his company would benefit from a well-located land portfolio.

“This is a strategic move for the newly launched land fund to make its mark in the real estate industry. The proposed acquisition of Freedom Property Fund will add significant value to our business by accessing the strong pipeline of strategically located land opportunities which all have been identified as future residential affordable housing developments matching our business model,” he said.

Unlisted fund Sahif was officially launched on July 2 with the aim of fast-tracking the delivery of serviced stands for poor and middle-class South Africans.

The fund focuses on increasing and accelerating delivery of affordable housing units by creating serviced stands through the acquisition of vacant and unused land near cities, town centres, shops, parks, schools, public transport, public health care and places of work within the urban edge. Its objective is to assist the government and private sector to address the shortfall of promised homes to South Africans that have not yet been built, which exceeds 1.7-million homes.

“This is just the first of many bold moves planned for Sahif over the coming years. We continue to be a company that will enter into the right opportunities to enhance the value of our business. This acquisition will bolster our consolidated land pipeline geographically, allowing us to deliver serviced stands in new areas of the country and ultimately addressing the housing crisis in South Africa,” said Sahif CEO Rali Mampeule.

Sahif has targeted 108,160 service stands to be delivered over the next three years, with a fund size of R15.3bn.

andersona@businesslive.co.za