Friedrich Esterhuyse: Picture: SUPPLIED
Friedrich Esterhuyse: Picture: SUPPLIED

Tradehold stands out as one of the few SA-invested property companies prepared to pay a dividend in 2020.

The group declared a dividend of 30c per ordinary share for the year to February, down 45% year on year.

This was despite Tradehold not being a real-estate investment trust (Reit). Reits by definition are supposed to pay at least 75% of their distributable income as dividends. 

Numerous property groups have deferred or cancelled dividend payments given the weak economy and the economic lockdown imposed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tradehold CEO Friedrich Esterhuyse said despite a drop in profits, his management team believed the company had weathered the highly volatile and demanding conditions that defined its 2020 financial year to end-February.

Esterhuyse said Tradehold was well-positioned to confront the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, even if they continued into 2021.

Tradehold's Southern African properties are owned by its subsidiary, Collins Group, of which Tradehold is a 74.3% shareholder. Its UK assets, which include four leisure malls and some office space located in greater London, are owned by its subsidiary, Moorgarth.

Moorgarth partners with Boutique, which specialises in short-term, flexible office accommodation.

“Unlike co-working, where different entities share desk space in an open office environment, Boutique provides clients with a traditional, private office environment. This allows tenants to manage for themselves the hygiene regimes imposed by the present pandemic conditions,” Esterhuyse said.

Esterhuyse said Tradehold was reducing the number of countries in Africa in which it does business.

It has disposed of its properties in Botswana and reached agreements with potential buyers to acquire what remains of its portfolio in Zambia. It still owns three properties in Mozambique as well as a portfolio in Namibia.