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Bullish Oryx seeks to double portfolio value

02 June 2017
Namibia Stock Exchange-listed property concern, Oryx Properties Limited, has announced its intention to double the size of its current portfolio in the medium term.
Responding to questions from the Windhoek Observer, Oryx Properties Limited Chief Executive Officer, Carel Fourie, said they are looking to grow their current portfolio to around N$5 billion over the medium term, ideally by way of incorporating another major portfolio or by acquisitions.
“We are always on the hunt, but we have not yet finalised anything specifically. We are, however, in discussion with other major players in the market to see if there are possible opportunities for collaboration on new and some existing assets,” Fourie said.
He said any major acquisitions would have to be funded by way of a bond issuance from Oryx’s approved domestic medium-term note programme.
Fourie did not rule out another rights issue, saying there is a possibility Oryx will come to the market, if a decent investment the company’s shareholders can buy into is identified.
He expressed optimism on the renovation and expansion projects at Gustav Voigts Centre and Maerua Mall, with the former adding a new entertainment centre that will accommodate a more relaxed shopping experience there.
“We are excited about the new look and feel of Maerua Mall as well as the intended upgrade of the Gustav Voigts Centre. The new Entertainment Centre that we are adding to the mix in Maerua Mall is also a very exciting and pioneering project, which we believe will benefit all our retailers and offer our shoppers a welcome alternative for spending relaxing time over weekends and after hours.”
He said the current expansion and renovation projects are aimed at enabling and enhancing the business environment for tenants.
“Doing an upgrade or revamp of a property very rarely yields immediate returns for the landlord, but can definitely have a quick impact on the business of our tenants,” he said.
Fourie, who took office as the new CEO at the beginning of March this year, said, in the short term, Oryx was re-looking its organisational structure in order to ensure that they have sufficient personnel at the right level.
He said they had already downsized their top-level management and were looking to bolster middle management in order to improve operational efficiency.
Regarding the impact of the current economic challenges in the country and Angola, Fourie said although the business had been affected, albeit indirectly, their occupancy rates had remained stable over the last six months.
“If there are tenants struggling in the current environment, we would be affected as well.”
He said there were plenty of challenges in the properties industry with the greatest, being that banks were increasing their funding margins, because of some liquidity constraints, which had dealt a significant blow on their operations.
“As any business would do, they are then trying to recover this additional cost from their respective customers. We are thus seeing our cost of debt funding increase, which does make equity raise look more favourable in terms of cost,” Fourie said.

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