Exemplar REITail has declared a dividend of 117.60 cents per share for the full year ended February 2022.
Together with an interim dividend of 45.34 cents per share for the six months ended August 2021, the final dividend of 72.25 cents per share for the six months ended February 2022 represents a 38.3% increase when compared to the prior year.
“These results are a testament to the true potential of our portfolio”, explains Exemplar CEO, Jason McCormick. “Despite the impact of Covid-19 and the civil unrest that took place in July 2021, trade across our portfolio has remained robust”.
Turnovers for the group returned to pre-pandemic levels soon after 2020’s hard lockdown and have continued to grow at well above the inflation rate with almost all of Exemplar’s anchor tenants trading at above pre-Covid-19 levels with some in excess of 40% up.
“In line with our strategic priority of implementing workable self-sufficient solutions to the challenges currently being faced in terms of utility costs, supply, and maintenance, we remain committed to ensuring our portfolio of assets can function at an optimal level both on and off the grid. In the past year, we increased our nameplate solar PV capacity by 8 257 kWDC and 14 of our 23 assets are now equipped with rooftop PV systems. We are also continuing to explore water saving and waste management opportunities”.
24.4% the REIT’s gross lettable area (GLA) was severely impacted by the civil unrest in July 2021 with three of its assets in KwaZulu-Natal and two in Gauteng extensively damaged by fire and looting. All but one of those assets were repaired and fully trading by December 2021 and the last is set to begin trading by August 2022.
Vacancies in Exemplar’s portfolio have improved to 3.26% compared to 5.3% in the previous year with the rental rate having increased to R150.36 per square metre. The group’s loan-to-value ratio (LTV) has improved to 35.2% while its property portfolio has gained R495.9 million in fair value. Rental income and recoveries increased by 12.1% and anchor trading densities have increased by 9.55%.
“It is in no small part thanks to the effort and commitment shown by our teams on-site and at head office that we are able to post these results,” comments Jason. “I would like to offer a personal thank you to all of you who have been part of this journey”.
Exemplar aims to provide essential retail services while acting as a catalyst for economic upliftment and job creation where its assets are based. The group currently manages over half a million square metres of GLA and is presently expanding its footprint in the Eastern Cape with the development of KwaBhaca Mall in Mount Frere and Bizana Walk in Bizana.
“Our key focus areas for the next six months will be to maintain and expand on the strength of our balance sheet, to continue to reduce our reliance on municipal utilities while strengthening our ESG initiatives and to continue to ensure the relevance of the portfolio through redevelopments, expansions, new centre openings and acquisitions”, he concludes.