Attacq, the JSE-listed REIT developing Waterfall City, today announced the resumption of dividends of 50.0 cents per share for the year to end-June 2022, representing a pay-out ratio of 80%, as well as an increase in distributable income per share by 34.2% to 62.8 cents.
Attacq said its performance was particularly satisfying in the context of South Africa’s record unemployment levels and low-growth environment, and emphasised the underlying quality of the portfolio, characterised by continued growth in the burgeoning mixed-use Waterfall City precinct, which continues to attract quality local and global blue-chip corporate clients.
“During the past year, we emerged from COVID-19 with an improved company culture and capital structure. Our focus is now on new opportunities, mainly through the implementation of our environmental plan, in support of sustainable growth within our portfolio and delivery of the company’s purpose and vision,” says Attacq CEO Jackie van Niekerk.
“A key ingredient of success has been formulating and executing our ‘hub’ strategy, which focuses on creating segmented retail-experience, collaboration and logistics hubs that are smart, safe and sustainable.”
Further highlights include concluding an amended lease agreement on the Cell C collaboration hub space, subject to the completion of Cell C’s recapitalisation, of (24 955m2), whereby the warehouse component of the Cell C campus (14 014m2) was re-let at market related rentals for a period of three years.
Attacq continues to secure a quality rental income stream as demonstrated by the high proportion of international commercial clients with several global blue-chip corporates including Amazon Web Services, Cisco, Pfizer and Ericsson moving to Waterfall City during the year.
Space utilisation at Waterfall City and Lynnwood Bridge precinct, our largest collaboration hubs, continues to increase as businesses return to the workplace.
Active capital allocation and balance sheet management
Commenting on the balance sheet and capital allocation, Attacq CFO Raj Nana adds “During FY22, Attacq successfully de-geared its balance sheet, completed a number of developments and grew its distributable income. In addition, lower interest costs, higher rental collections and the receipt of a dividend from the investment in MAS have contributed to an increase in total distributable income per share of 34.2%.”
The Group’s interest-bearing borrowings reduced by 18.7% while its net asset value per share grew by 11.0% to R17.49 (2021: R15.75 per share).
A cautious, but encouraging outlook – investors and clients seek quality
At a macro level, there are a number of headwinds including poor business confidence, high unemployment, rising inflation and interest rates which are likely to restrict economic growth. Notwithstanding these headwinds, the portfolio is expected to continue to generate income growth, coupled by improved funding and liquidity positions, given the improved capital structure.
Attacq’s resilient portfolio is diversified by geography, sector and asset class, and, with its exposure to defensive, high-quality retail and residential, and complemented by premium-grade office developments, is well-positioned to grow further as consumers and businesses seek quality and convenience in their work, home and play destinations.
In line with this, Attacq’s decision to discontinue its plans for The Mix residential development and redouble its efforts on additional phases of the Group’s flagship Ellipse Waterfall development, has borne fruit.
To date, Ellipse has to date achieved more than R1 billion in sales since launch in July 2021 and has already seen its first residents move into the residential mixed-use hub.