Hard to go wrong here.

Posted On Wednesday, 09 July 2003 02:00 Published by
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The strengthening rand kept Liberty International out of the top five companies according to our criteria.

The strengthening rand kept Liberty International out of the top five companies according to our criteria. The rand market cap of this UK retail portfolio fell from R26-billion to R21-billion over the year, but, even underperforming, the FTSE 100 company remains one of the best investment counters in the world.

Its mainly UK regional shopping centres have long, upward-adjusting leases with big retailers and each centre is ringfenced with its own, nonrecourse, fixed-interest finance. Steady and growing payouts to shareholders are assured in all but the most disastrous economic collapse. A 4,5% initial yield and expected share price growth of 2% will give investors a 6,5% total return, against falling values in income almost everywhere else.

It's one of the best deflation-proof rand hedges available to those not convinced of the SA currency's future strength. A 10% fall in the rand over the next year could increase the return to 16,5%. And you don't have to worry about exchange controls.

Those who bought Libint when it listed in 1999 at R40/share are still well up on their investment after last year's rand rise pushed the share price down from R100 to its current R78.

The biggest and most consistent buyer of the shares over the past four years has been Libint chairman Donald Gordon. He retired as chairman of Liberty Life with 2% of Libint, worth about R300-million. Four years later he has over 20%, worth about R5-billion. And he's still buying.

Financial Mail

Publisher: Financial Mail
Source: Ian Fife

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