Redefine clamps down on errant government tenants

JSE-listed Redefine Properties has clamped down on non-paying government tenants in Pretoria by refusing entry to one of its buildings in Pretoria.

CEO of the second largest property loan stock company in South Africa, Marc Wainer, says the company on Thursday acted against one of the government departments leasing 300 parking bays from Redefine: “We haven’t had rental for a couple of months. We can’t get the rental, so basically today we said that’s it, no more parking.”

Wainer has been highly critical of some government departments and local authorities wanting bribes and frustrating the administrative process, citing the former Hammanskraal as an example.

At its results presentation in Rosebank north of Johannesburg on Thursday, Wainer said Redefine wanted to reduce its government portfolio substantially with a view to completely exiting the sector: “It’s a large portion of our office portfolio at 18% and I would like to see it at most down to 5%, but ideally right out.”

He cited some of the frustrations of doing business with government in that they don’t pay increases in rates, administrative bungles and the amount of time it takes to get leases signed. The company is in talks with “one or two parties who have substantial capital” in trying to sell off some of its government-tenanted buildings.

Turning to Redefine’s bid to acquire the Fountainhead Property Trust’s R10.3bn portfolio and comments that the proposed offer was cheeky, Wainer told Moneyweb: “We based our initial offer on consensus forecasts. Fountainhead’s results are out today [Thursday] and they’re quite below the consensus forecast.

“After our initial meeting with shareholders where we had a mixed reaction, some in favour, some totally anti, and some thinking our bid was a little bit light, we were going to increase our offer by 3% or 4%. We as the manager then became aware of what the actual numbers would be and the actual forecast, so we left our bid unchanged.”
On Thursday Fountainhead posted a full year final distribution of 27.83c per unit. Its full year revenue was R1.07bn versus R902.3m the previous year. It said in a Sens announcement that it expected distributions for 2013 to remain unchanged compared with the year ended September 2012.

On October 23 2012 Growthpoint, which is the JSE’s largest property company with a market capitalisation of R44bn, also put in an offer for Fountainhead considered to be substantially superior to that of Redefine. Wainer said a final decision on which bid would be successful or not, was up to the unit holders.

“Let’s look at the NAV (net asset value). At the end of the day you are paying a premium on the NAV of the company. So how does that become cheeky?”

Wainer also expressed concern over recent development in South Africa including violent strikes in the mining sector, saying conditions were generally unsatisfactory: “Our international exposure is now just over 15% which is up on last year slightly, but down on where it was half year, probably one-and-a-half to 2% down, so we’ve had some of the international players exit, and we think that’s across the board. It doesn’t sound like a lot but it’s over R500m in monetary terms.”

It was also announced on Thursday that Redefine had acquired 50% of the massive East Rand Mall in Boksburg east of Johannesburg: “Redefine’s R2.23bn purchase offer for the 62 446m² super-regional mall in Boksburg, Gauteng has been accepted by Sanlam, subject to conditions normal for acquisitions of this nature.”

The company on Thursday reported distribution growth of 7.2% on a like-for-like recurring income basis, meeting its forecast for the year ended August 31 2012. Wainer said the total return to unitholders was 30% for the year.
He attributed the company’s performance to Redefine’s strategy which improved the quality of its local property portfolio. It had produced good core income growth, reduced funding costs and delivered management efficiencies through firm cost controls.


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