Atterbury backed in sub-Saharan property investment and development drive

Posted On Monday, 03 September 2012 09:35 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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Joining Atterbury Group’s African expansion, Hyprop Investments Limited has entered an agreement as a co-investor in Mauritian-based property investment company, Atterbury Africa Limited

James EhlersAtterbury Africa develops and owns quality shopping centres in Africa, with a US dollar based income stream. Hyprop’s initial shareholding in Atterbury Africa is 37.5% with a commitment to invest R750 million in the fund over the next five years.

James Ehlers, Managing Director of Atterbury Property Developments, says: “Sub-Saharan Africa is a challenging environment but we believe strongly the time is right to invest now. Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa are showing good growth. We are investing in those with political stability and sustainable growth.”

Ehlers notes that Atterbury Africa is taking a focused approach to its African investment, working with South African retailers and targeting countries that can accommodate several investments.

“This is important for retailers seeking to expand their businesses into new countries. The economy of scale and operating costs are vastly better if the critical mass is there to begin with,” says Ehlers.

Atterbury Africa is confident that Ghana is a country that meets these needs.

The company recently purchased a 42.5% interest in the successful Accra Mall in Ghana for $23.6 million, and is planning to develop further shopping centres there. It is acquiring land in the Achimota area in the northern part of Accra. It is also invested in the 26,500sqm West Hills Mall in Accra.

Atterbury Africa is also looking at other projects in Mozambique, Angola and Zambia where Atterbury Africa is developing the Waterfalls mixed-use hotel, retail and office development in Lusaka.

“Lusaka is proving popular with South Africa developers. In fact, some areas of the city are saturated with development by these developers,” notes Ehlers. “There are still good development opportunities to be had outside the congested Lusaka CBD, in urban malls.”

Looking even further north, Atterbury Africa believes West Africa holds good prospects. “This is why we have made our biggest investments there,” Ehlers reports.

Working with major SA retailers is a key ingredient of Atterbury Africa’s malls.

“We understand SA retailers. Many have already have set up their brands across the continent,” says Ehlers. He adds that most of the development funding is sourced through South Africa, and financial institutions are comfortable working with local retail groups.

Atterbury Africa’s model of partnering with local expertise has proved effective in its sub-Saharan ventures, as well as Atterbury’s 40,000sqm Bagatelle - Mall of Mauritius, which opened in September 2011.

“Atterbury Africa will continue to join forces with local partners with knowledge in African trade and financing, while contributing its own property expertise. We are confident that this strategy – working in the right countries with SA retailers and local partners - will further our goal to provide excellent total returns to Atterbury Africa’s investors. It will also help our stakeholders increase their international diversification,” says Ehlers.

Hyprop’s investment in Atterbury Africa is subject to exchange control approval.

Last modified on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 09:42

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