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PROPERTY: Growthpoint Properties Achieves Superior Letting Results


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Defying the slow leasing environment in SA, Growthpoint Properties Limited secured substantial office, retail and industrial leases through significant renewals and an enviable book of new deals during the fourth quarter of 2011.

Growthpoint Properties is the largest South African listed property company with property assets valued in excess of R50 billion located throughout South Africa and Australia. Its South African portfolio, valued at R33.7bn of over 412 properties (excluding 50% of the V and A Waterfront) provides in excess of 4,3 million square metres of office, industrial and retail space to leading businesses.

Securing leases valued at over R668 million in its inland office portfolio, Growthpoint finalised a number of landmark deals during the quarter. Top performing building, Constantia Office Park, clinched eight deals covering over 20,000m² of quality office space, including a new lease with Protea Hotels and the renewal of the tenancies of First Rand Bank, Gold One International, MTN, SA Insurance Association and Afrisam SA. Grayston Office Park also performed strongly, gaining leases from Huawei Technologies Africa, Silica Financial Administration and Pearson Holdings. During the quarter, Growthpoint’s Gauteng office vacancy level reduced from 7.2% to 6.7%.

“We continue to enhance the user experience at our office properties. This is being achieved through innovative redevelopments, which include green building elements and energy-efficient retrofits,” says Rudolf Pienaar, Growthpoint’s Office Divisional Director. “The occupancy rate of 93.3% in Growthpoint’s inland office portfolio is substantially better than the national office average, which SAPOA/IPD pins at 89.6%.”

Growthpoint Takes Charge in Industrial Space Letting

R85,2 million in lease values were achieved for inland industrial space during the quarter, representing over 77,000m² of manufacturing, logistics and showroom space. Tenant retention contributed markedly, totalling a lease value of R52,7 million. Scania SA, Siemens Ltd, Supergroup and Hirt and Carter were among the industry giants to renew their contracts with Growthpoint. New deals notched up a lease value of R32,5 million of which the single largest one was signed with Capital Africa Steel, which leased 13,000m² at Growthpoint’s Hilltop Industrial Estate in Meadowvale.

“Vacancy levels in the Growthpoint’s industrial properties in Gauteng remain low at 2.7% after starting the quarter at 5.2%,” says Engelbert Binedell, Growthpoint’s Industrial Divisional Director. “We continue to unlock value from our portfolio and provide modern premises through client-specific refurbishments and redevelopments.”

Growthpoint’s inland retail property portfolio concluded leases valued at R134.4 million during the quarter, of which new lets comprise 11,200m². Vacancy levels moved from 3.2% to 3.6% during this time, as space has been set aside to accommodate the expansion of three major shopping centres in the portfolio.

“Great turnover growth at Waterfall Mall and Value Centre in Rustenburg continues to foster rental growth. This has translated into lease renewals valued over R37 million during the quarter,” says Stephan le Roux, Growthpoint’s Retail Divisional Director. Furthermore, the completion of Casey’s Auto at Lakeside Mall in October 2011 follows a 3,000m² lease with Supergroup.

Large Leases Occur in East Coast Cities

In KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, leases valued at R117.2 million were signed in the final quarter of 2011. Industrial developments and redevelopments contributed strongly to leasing activity in SA’s east coast cities. Two major transactions, both in Durban, include a 21,000m² facility for Bidvest Panalpina Logistics and a 4,100m² expansion for CHC Resources.

“The region secured significant new lets and renewals in the industrial sector with similar success in office renewals. Demand for quality retail space also remains strong with our vacancy level below 2% and average growth in retail rental income around 8%,” says Greg De Klerk, Growthpoint’s KwaZulu–Natal Regional Head.

The Growthpoint Properties team in the Western Cape achieved an impressive 69,200m² of deals. Its portfolio’s vacancy levels moved from 32,000m² to 29,000m² during the quarter. There was active leasing across all sectors, with over 40 leases each in its retail and office portfolios coming into effect during the quarter. The most take up, by size, however, was reported in the industrial portfolio.

“There’s been a surge in demand for industrial space in the Western Cape, and our portfolio is virtually fully let. Industrial leases signed make up some 40,500m²,” points out David Stoll, Growthpoint’s Western Cape Regional Head. The largest industrial deal concluded during the quarter was with Wholesale Housing Supplies.

“These results were achieved by working closely with clients to understand their needs and by providing accommodation that satisfied their requirements,” explains Growthpoint Properties’ Executive Director, Estienne de Klerk. “We continue to dedicate attention to maintaining the quality of our buildings, as well as improving operational and energy efficiencies, thus minimising increases in occupation costs to the benefit of our tenants.”

All regions are quick to acknowledge that the excellent leasing performance achieved during the fourth quarter of 2011 could not have been possible without the partnership and close working relationship that Growthpoint’s leasing teams have fostered with leasing consultants and the countrywide network of external brokers.

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