Commercial Real Estate Hard To Find In Africa, Report Says

Commercial Real Estate Hard To Find In Africa, Report Says

Public Investment Corp. recently overtook Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed Growthpoint Properties as the biggest player in South Africa’s commercial property space, according to a report in Financial Mail.

PIC now plans to expand its real estate empire into the rest of Africa. Its property boss, Lesiba Maloba, hopes to invest up to $1.2 billion in commercial real estate in various countries across Africa, the company’s first foray into property markets outside South Africa, the report says.

Maloba says there’s a shortage of commercial property space in most African countries, so the company wants to partner  with South African developers, institutions and retailers to develop new properties.

But Africa is still “virgin territory,” with such vast potential that the PIC’s African investment strategy is not set in stone, Maloba said. PIC has stakes in some of the biggest malls in South Africa including Sandton City, the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront and Cavendish Square in Cape Town, Menlyn Park shopping center in Pretoria and 25 rural and township centers.

South African pension fund manager Sanlam three weeks ago listed its sub-Saharan Africa Real Estate Fund on the Mauritius stock exchange. Sanlam adviser Thomas Reilly says the fund is a way for South African investors to tap into the growth potential of sub-Saharan African property markets.

An initial $100 million was raised before the listing among mostly South African institutional investors, according to the report in Financial Mail. The fund’s first property acquisition was a stake in the Accra Mall in Ghana. Reilly recently added four office tower blocks in the heart of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to the portfolio.

Reilly is looking at potential deals in Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia and Mozambique. The fund is targeting a total annual dollar return of 14 percent to 18 percent.