Geoff Jennett. Picture: SUPPLIED
Geoff Jennett. Picture: SUPPLIED

Diversified real estate group Emira Property Fund, which owns Knightsbridge office park and Kramerville Corner mall, has not been spared by the pandemic.

Led by Geoff Jennett, the company which owns a portfolio of assets worth about R14.3bn including stakes in Australia, said on Thursday that it expected its dividend for the year to June 2020 to fall by at least 15%, or R118m, compared with the year to June 2019.

Emira had given various tenants rental relief because they were not able to trade at all or not at full capacity in the lockdown imposed to flatten the curve of Covid-19.

In April, 61.1% of rentals were collected, compared with 53.5% in May and 53.5% in June.

“Emira has taken a long-term view when assessing the type and level of rent relief provided to tenants. Tenant sustainability has been at the forefront of our considerations, to ensure that as many tenants as possible survive this period,” the group said.

“Emira has shared the burden by aiding most of its tenants, with a particular focus on those tenants hardest hit by the lockdown, specifically those unable to trade and small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs)," it said.

Concessions in the form of gross rental deferrals or rental remissions were provided to tenants, depending on their specific circumstances, for the months of April, May and June and some talks were still under way.

The rent deferrals provided had payment terms ranging from three to nine months, with the majority of deferred rentals being payable in nine equal instalments, from October 2020.

“Shareholders are now advised that, because of the rental concessions, including remissions and deferments, provided to its tenants for the months of April, May and June 2020 in response to the Covid- 19 lockdown, Emira expects its distributable earnings for the current financial year, on which its dividend per share is based, to decrease by at least 15%," it said.

The extent of the rental concessions granted to 1,152 SMME tenants across Emira’s direct portfolio totalled about R74.9m.

Emira also appointed two new directors, Berlina Moroole as chief risk officer and former Emira CEO James Templeton as a non-executive director. Both appointments are effective from July 1. 

James is a representative of the iGroup, a Cape Town-based property investment and development group, which owns a third of Emira shares in issue.

He is the CEO of Castleview Property Fund.