Octodec's portfolio optimisation continues to generate long term value and underpins interim financial performance

Posted On Monday, 13 May 2019 16:20 Published by
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JSE listed REIT Octodec Investments Limited, today announced its half year results, declaring a distribution of 101.7 cents per share for the period.

 Jeffrey_Wapnick_MD

Total rental income grew by R47.9 million or 5.2% compared to the prior period. The core portfolio, represented by those properties held since the previous comparable period with no major development activity, reflected like-for-like rental income growth of 2.2%, bolstered by a strong contribution from the residential portfolio. Property costs increased compared to the prior period due to higher utility costs and assessment rate charges, and an overall increase in property management costs. Bad debt write-offs and provisions during the period were little changed at 1.3% of total tenant income.

Jeffrey Wapnick, Managing Director of Octodec explained: “The prevailing poor economic environment exacerbated by rising costs and political uncertainty has weighed heavily on public confidence and spending power.

“We have positioned Octodec to withstand tough trading environments and provide shareholders with sustainable value creation. During the period, we focussed on managing vacancies, improving the value of existing assets and recycling capital through the disposal of non-core or underperforming properties. The portfolio was however impacted by pressure on rental income growth as well as an increase in property operating costs and higher finance charges during the period.”

Occupancy levels were stable during the period, showing a slight decrease in both total and core vacancies which were at 17.7% and 11.3% respectively.

Sharon’s Place which was completed in phases by 30 June 2018, was 98% occupied as at February 2019 and is expected to deliver strong growth in rental income for the foreseeable future. While no significant developments were undertaken during the period, several smaller projects are underway which will not only improve the occupancy levels and enhance the value of the portfolio, but also contribute to the upliftment of the areas in which Octodec is predominantly invested.

The remaining 50% of two joint ventures, Kempton Place and The Brooklyn, was acquired for a cash consideration of R36.5 million, at an initial yield of 9.5% and became effective 1 November 2018. 

A total of fourteen properties were sold during the period. Six of these properties had transferred by period end, for a total consideration of R98.8 million, at an average combined exit yield of 5.1% and 0.7% premium to book value. Transfer of the remaining eight properties for a total consideration of R39.0 million, is expected to take place before the 2019 financial year-end. These properties were sold at an average combined exit yield of 7.3% and a combined premium of 4.4% to book value. “The value that these properties attracted, not only demonstrates the quality of our assets which is enhanced by our prudent approach to maintenance across the portfolio, but also our realistic property valuations,” commented Anthony Stein, FD of Octodec.

The proceeds from asset sales were used to fund our upgrade programme and reduce debt which ended the period at R4,9 billion, with the loan-to-value being 38.3%. Finance costs rose 5.5% to R225.7 million, mainly due to the cost of additional hedging contracts entered into and interest expensed on the completed Sharon’s Place development. The all-in weighted cost of borrowings increased to 9.4% per annum. At period end, 75.5% of debt was fixed, however following the negotiation of further swap contracts, the hedged position increased to 85.6%, further protecting the portfolio from interest rate risk. “In the current economic environment we are approaching our capital management with greater emphases on, ensuring that our balance sheet is not strained but at the same time is optimised through the use of leverage. We are proactively addressing our debt that is expiring and aim to reduce our LTV over time.” added Stein.

Wapnick concluded: “Local market uncertainty continues and no significant improvement in the economy and consumer health is expected in the short to medium term. Octodec’s resilience during such challenging times is underpinned by the diversity of the portfolio, large tenant base, management’s experience and sound operating fundamentals, combined with prudent capital management.

“With the conclusion of the general elections, political risk and uncertainty is expected to settle, restoring some level of confidence. We expect the second half dividend to be slightly less than that of the current period which will result in a decrease in the dividend for the full year of approximately 2%. South Africa is expected to achieve low growth for 2019, thereafter, improved conditions should provide the stimulus for Octodec to unlock value and provide shareholders with a growing sustainable distribution.

 ''Our strategy remains unchanged and we continue to upgrade our property portfolio situated in Gauteng, with a strong emphasis of investing in the residential sector. The disposal of our non-core or underperforming properties will remain a key focus area for the foreseeable future with proceeds being used towards the repayment of borrowings and to upgrade our property portfolio.”

  • Distribution of 101.7 cents per share, in line with management’s guidance
  • Revenue increased by 5.2%
  • 2% like for like growth in total rental income supported by residential income growth of 3.9%
  • 14 non-core/underperforming assets sold, 6 transferred during the period
  • Prudent capital management strategy
Last modified on Tuesday, 14 May 2019 09:21

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