Atterbury eyes expansion into Africa

Atterbury has concluded its second major African property transaction. With Sanlam it has acquired an 85% stake in Ghana’s first A-grade shopping centre, the 20,000sqm Accra Mall, which is valued some $65 million.

The remaining 15% is held by family members of the late Joseph Owusu Akyaw, the original founder of Accra Mall.

The transaction follows the development of Atterbury’s 39,000sqm Bagatelle - Mall of Mauritius, which opened in September 2011.

It also confirms the leading South African property investment and development company has its sights firmly set on African the market.

Atterbury is also, in conjunction with the Social Security National Insurance Trust of Ghana (SSNIT), developing the 27,300sqm West Hills retail development in Accra. Atterbury is also engaged in a mixed-use hotel, retail and office development in Lusaka, Zambia. It has also acquired Aurecon’s 2,200sqm Luanda, Angola head office.

James Ehlers, MD of Atterbury Property Development says: “Right now, there’s a window of opportunity to expand into this growing market. Our purchase of the lead stake in the Accra Mall meets our investment criteria and furthers Atterbury’s goals of providing excellent total returns to investors. It also helps achieve a healthy measure of international geographic diversification in our portfolio.”

Ehlers reports that Atterbury is targeting retail opportunities and commercial properties connected to retail nodes. This includes both new developments and properties for refurbishment.

“Our model of partnering with local expertise has proved effective. Atterbury will continue to join forces with local partners with knowledge in African trade and financing, while contributing its own property expertise,” explains Ehlers

In fact, Atterbury Africa Limited has been established for this precise purpose. Atterbury Investment Holdings has a strategic investment in this African venture, which furthers its goal of geographic diversification in sub-Saharan Africa.

“Over the next five to seven years, various investors will partner with Atterbury as developer to build a portfolio of prized retail and commercial property assets in Africa,” says Renier Van Rensburg, CFO of Atterbury Africa Limited.

Immediately, Atterbury plans an expansion and minor changes to the Accra Mall, originally developed in 2007 with SA retailers Shoprite, Game, Mr Price, Truworths, Woodin, Vlisco, Puma, Rhapsody’s, TM Lewin and Foods Inn as well as Ghanaian retailers such as Body Basics, Dalex Finance, Enda, Exotic Trendz, Eye Emporium, Felipaul, Gipsey Interiors, Kiki Clothing, Nallem Clothing and Say Cheers.

Atterbury Asset Managers is tasked with the asset management of the Accra Mall, and according to Lucille Louw, Managing Director Atterbury Asset Managers, Atterbury plans to optimise returns from this investment.

Atterbury is also pursuing several other African opportunities which, it reports, are close to completion.

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