A man walks past a McDonald's drive-through at Diepkloof Square in Soweto, one of many township retail centres in the Exemplar portfolio. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/TSHEPO KEKANA
A man walks past a McDonald's drive-through at Diepkloof Square in Soweto, one of many township retail centres in the Exemplar portfolio. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/TSHEPO KEKANA

Exemplar, a rural-retail focused real-estate company, said on Friday falling arrears and rising vacancies meant it was on track to deliver double-digit distribution growth for its year to end-February 2020.

Unlike other JSE listed property counters who have reported negative rental reversions, township-focused Exemplar reported an average escalation of 6.82% on renewals and new tenants in its six months to end-August.

The company, which owns 21 shopping malls, said arrears improved to 1.06% of annualised property income during its six months to end-August, from 2.48% at the end of February.

The company's vacancy rate was 2.97% as of Friday, from 3.1% at the end of February.

The company more than doubled its interim dividend for the period to 43.77c per share from 19.1c previously — although the latter reporting period only covered three months, as Exemplar listed on the JSE in June 2018.

Headline earnings per share rose to 43.29c, from 20.25c previously.

The company's share price was unchanged at R9 on Friday afternoon, having fallen 13.46% in the year to date.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za