International News

Resilient’s local portfolio reports strong operating metrics for FY2023

Resilient's Mall of the North, the largest shopping centre in Limpopo.

Retail-focused Resilient REIT has published its audited financial results for the year ended December 2023, declaring a dividend of 203.02 cents per share for the six months ended December 2023 and a total dividend of 406.24 cents per share for FY2023.

While the company’s results are ahead of guidance, mainly due to less load shedding experienced in its portfolio, its total dividend for FY2023 was 7.3% lower than the 438.03 cents per share for the previous year mainly due to higher interest rates and lower distributions from investee companies.

Resilient is invested in 27 retail centres with a gross lettable area (GLA) of 1.2 million square metres. Its South African portfolio recorded comparable net property income (NOI) growth of 7.1% for the year, supported by Resilient’s energy strategy that assisted in containing the rise in electricity costs.

Comparable sales increased by 5.2%, impacted by the high base effect in KwaZulu-Natal, construction at Mahikeng Mall, and surrounding infrastructure upgrades in Mahikeng as well as the redevelopment of Tzaneng Mall. Excluding these malls, its remaining portfolio achieved comparable sales growth of 6.9%. Strong trading performances were achieved in the Northern Cape, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo.

Rentals on lease renewals were concluded on average 4.6% higher than expiring rentals. Its leases concluded with tenants were on average 26.5% higher than the rentals of the outgoing tenants. In total, rentals for renewals and new leases increased by 7.9%.

Resilient’s pro rata share of the vacancy in its portfolio was 1.5% at December 2023 including vacancies created to facilitate the introduction of new tenants at Tzaneng Mall and Jabulani Mall.

France

Resilient owns a 40% interest in Retail Property Investments, the owner of four regional malls in France, in partnership with Lighthouse Properties.

In H1 2023, the French portfolio was negatively affected by numerous tenant failures and receiverships with the common theme of most of the retailers having equity capital structures. With administrative procedures in France challenging, delays of up to twelve months to recover space from failing tenants occurred. These tenant failures increased the French vacancies from 7.22% at FY2022 to 9% at H1 2023. At December 2023, vacancies reduced to 7.9% following letting to national retailers. Although economic conditions remain subdued, terms have been agreed (pending lease signature) with international tenants for 3 877m2 of currently vacant space. The conclusion of these leases will further reduce vacancies in the French portfolio to 5,2%.

Comparable sales for FY2023 grew by 6.5% with footfall increasing by 9.6%. The improved footfall was driven by the introduction of new retailers.

Spain

Resilient and Lighthouse each own a 50% interest in the holding company of Salera Properties. In late December 2023, Propco entered into an agreement for the acquisition of Salera Centro Comercial, a retail shopping centre in the city of Castellon de la Plana, Spain. The transaction closed and Propco took transfer of Salera on the 31st of January 2024.

Salera opened in 2006 and is the dominant regional shopping centre in the province of Castellon. During December 2023, Resilient paid €8,6 million (R171,6 million) as a deposit towards the acquisition of Salera. The purchase consideration of €174,5 million (100% and inclusive of transaction costs) represents an annualised net initial yield of 7,7% based on the forecast 2024 net operating income. In total, Resilient paid €87,25 million (R1,765 billion) for its share of Salera. The intention is for Propco to introduce senior bank debt of approximately 45% of the acquisition price in due course.

Nigeria

Resilient Africa, together with local partners, owns Asaba Mall, Delta Mall and Owerri Mall. Resilient owns 60.94% of Resilient Africa in partnership with Shoprite Holdings Limited.

Resilient Africa received USD45 million of funding from the Shoprite group which was due to be repaid on the 3rd of March 2024. The funding was secured by the three properties, with no recourse to Resilient’s South African balance sheet. As the valuation of the properties exceeds the value of the funding, Resilient and Shoprite effectively agreed, subsequent to yearend, that Resilient’s portion of the properties will settle its share of the debt. Consequently, Resilient will dispose of its Nigerian operations to Shoprite. From the 3rd of March 2024, Resilient has no further financial obligations with regard to the Nigerian operations with Shoprite taking full responsibility thereof.

The Nigerian investment contributed 42 cents per share to Resilient’s net asset value of R66.28 per share at December 2023.

Energy projects

Resilient has continued the roll-out of solar and battery installations in line with its long-term energy strategy in South Africa, exceeding its target by increasing its generation capacity to 59.9MWp by December 2023, constituting 27.7% of its total energy consumption.

It is projected that installed capacity will increase by a further 16.5MWp during FY2024. Resilient continues to reduce its energy demand through various initiatives, including relamping of centres and upgrading air-conditioning systems.

Property valuations

Resilient’s full property portfolio was subject to an external valuation at December 2023. Its share of the positive revaluation of its South African portfolio was R1.2 billion (4.8%).

Resilient’s share of the negative revaluation of the French portfolio was €8,3 million and its share of the negative revaluation of the Nigerian portfolio was USD11.7 million.

Listed portfolio

Resilient’s interest in Hammerson plc was sold during the year in line with the Board’s priority to proceed with Resilient’s energy initiatives and fund its capital commitments while retaining conservative leverage. Total proceeds of R1.2 billion were received against the original purchase price of R746.4 million. In respect of its Lighthouse investment, Resilient elected to receive scrip dividends in April 2023 and 50% of its dividend as a scrip dividend in October 2023. The Group currently owns 30.8% of Lighthouse.

Resilient’s loan-to-value (LTV) ratio currently sits at 35.2% (December 2022: 34.70%).