Rockcastle Global Real Estate is on track to become a fund split 50-50 across direct and indirect real estate.
CEO Spiro Noussis says the company’s direct property assets will be focused in Poland, but the fund will also be exposed to other markets in Eastern Europe, including the Czech Republic.
"Poland is now our base. We are finding opportunities in Hungary and the Czech Republic too, but our largest assets will be shopping centres in Poland," he says.
Poland’s economy is set to grow about 3.5% this year.
Rockcastle declared a dividend of US$0.048/share for the six months to June 2016. This represented an increase of 8.2% over the comparable prior period, but was within guidance of between 8% and 10%.
Rockcastle’s board has forecast a growth in dividends of between 11% and 13% for the six-month period to December 2016 against the same period in 2015.
The group is now worth about R33bn and could be looking to acquire other funds in Eastern Europe to maintain its aim of delivering double-digit dividend returns for every six-month period.
The listed portfolio includes stakes in Simon Property Group, the largest listed retail property fund in the US, UK mall-owner Hammerson and Paris-based Unibail Rodamco.
Management’s decision in the first quarter of 2016 to reduce gearing, as well as the company’s investment bias towards the US, UK and European markets, has provided substantial protection from market volatility.
At roughly R35 a share, Rockcastle is an attractively priced share with upside potential.
There is a possibility that Romanian-focused New Europe Property Investments may make a takeover bid for Rockcastle in the future. Both funds are operating in Eastern Europe and were formed by professionals from SA’s Resilient group of real estate companies.