Vukile Property Fund withdraws dividend guidance due to virus
The group is on track to meet its earnings growth target, but will change its dividend policy as a result of the Covid-19 crisis
Vukile Property Fund, which owns malls in SA and Spain, has withdrawn its distribution guidance for its year to end-March as property companies seek to preserve cash in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The group, which has consolidated property assets of about R35bn, has said it is on track to meet is guidance of distributable earnings per share growth of between 3% and 5%, but will change its dividend policy.
The group’s previous policy was to pay a dividend representing 100% of distributable earnings.
“Accordingly, to maintain maximum operational and financial flexibility, Vukile’s dividend-per-share guidance for the year ended March 31 2020 is withdrawn,” the group said.
Vukile has invested in SA shopping centres that serve people in the middle to lower living standards measurement study (LSMs), which are seen as more defensive than larger, super-regional shopping centres. Its asset base is roughly split between SA and Spain, which has the second-highest number of reported Covid-19 deaths globally.
In afternoon trade on Wednesday, Vukile’s share price was down 6.36% to R6.63, having lost almost two-thirds of its value so far in 2020. Over the same period the JSE’s property index has halved.