‘Joint ventures could be key’ to SA property expansions into Africa

Posted On Friday, 19 October 2012 09:15 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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LOCAL property companies looking to expand into Africa should consider doing so via joint ventures with seasoned developers on the continent, such as Atterbury, Alternative Real Estate fund manager Maurice Shapiro said on Thursday

Maurice ShapiroAlthough Africa seemed to be the next growth phase for property, "we are cognisant of the fact that developing in Africa is easier said than done", Mr Shapiro said.

Investing in long-term projects in the region is not always easy. Finding the correct properties and dealing with relatively slow-moving authorities can be stumbling blocks.

"We would rather back seasoned developers like Atterbury, as Hyprop have done via their investment into Mauritius-based Atterbury Africa, over big South African institutions.

"Besides development risks, issues around security of tenure and liquidity are still too uncertain in some African countries. We prefer to be more conservative by investing offshore into companies like Growthpoint Australia, which offers a yield greater than 8.5%, and a solid risk-adjusted return in hard currency."

Stanlib is set to launch a multimillion-dollar development fund in Kenya and Nigeria, providing potential investors with exposure to the continent in a deal the asset manager said will provide lucrative returns.

The chief investment officer of Stanlib's Direct Property Investments, Amelia Beattie, on Thursday said the company was looking at about R1.3bn in equity in its first direct property fund in Africa.

She said the Stanlib Africa Direct Property Development Fund would focus on retail-led investments, which make up between 60% and 80% of its portfolio.

While Stanlib does have listed property in Africa, this is its first direct property fund to be launched on the continent.

"We are targeting 25% gross internal rate of return because we believe the underlying property fundamentals are strong. The risks are high, but if you manage them properly, the rewards are high, so we have rigorous risk-management practices that we employ around this," Ms Beattie said.

She said Stanlib was looking to raise capital next month, and believed funding would come from large South African organisations, the Middle East and the US.

The scope for property development on the continent is enhanced by the involvement of retailers such as South Africa's Shoprite and Massmart, the latter recently acquired by Walmart, with their insatiable demand for access to African markets.

Last modified on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 08:29

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