It will be interesting to see how much market support there will be for the proposed R10bn listing of a portion of Liberty’s property portfolio, including stakes in what are arguably some of SA’s largest and glitziest malls. These include Sandton City, Nelson Mandela Square, Eastgate and Melrose Arch in Johannesburg, and Liberty Midlands Mall in Pietermaritzburg.
In a surprise announcement last week, Liberty Holdings unveiled its plans to list a R6bn portion of its R30bn property portfolio as a real estate investment trust (Reit) on the JSE in December.
The remaining portion of the portfolio will continue to be owned by an unlisted vehicle that is known as Liberty Property Portfolio.
The new Reit, to be named Liberty Two Degrees, hopes to raise up to R4bn in new capital at listing.
That is no small change, especially at a time when so many other new real estate listings, of which most are rand-hedge offerings, are vying for investors’ capital.
Liberty Two Degrees will be the fifth new property listing on the JSE this year and the 11th since April 2015.
Other 2016 contenders are three Eastern European-focused listings — Greenbay Properties (May), Global Trade Centre (August) and Echo Polska Properties (set for September) — as well as UK-focused mall owner Hammerson, set to make its debut on the JSE this week.
So far this year, R20bn in fresh capital has been raised by more than a dozen Reits via initial public offerings, book builds, rights issues and dividend reinvestments, latest figures from Stanlib show. But analysts warn that property investors are becoming more discerning about which capital-raising exercises they will support. Ultimately, pricing will be key.
Liberty Two Degrees CEO Amelia Beattie hasn’t yet disclosed what dividend yield the counter will offer investors when it lists in December.