Fountainhead Property Trust names new CEO

Posted On Wednesday, 19 June 2013 09:44 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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Former SA Corporate Real Estate Fund MD Len van Niekerk has been appointed by Redefine as CEO of Fountainhead.

Len van Niekerk Fountainhead CEOVan Niekerk has extensive previous experience as both a listed property analyst and a property company executive and intends to provide a more focused strategy to the fund’s portfolio.
 
Redefine‚ which owns Fountainhead’s management company and has a significant shareholding in the trust‚ in April announced various plans for Fountainhead including the appointment of a CEO‚ after it appeared less likely that Growthpoint Properties (GRT) could successfully acquire Fountainhead’s assets.
 
Fountainhead said on Tuesday its acting CEO‚ Alex Phakathi‚ would resume his role as acquisitions and disposals executive at Redefine from July 1. Phakathi would remain with Fountainhead for the rest of June to ensure a smooth handover‚ the trust said. Following a decision by the independent committee of Fountainhead’s board to end discussions with Growthpoint regarding Growthpoint’s bid for Fountainhead’s assets‚ Redefine announced various plans for the trust in early April.
 
These included the appointment of various staff including a full-time CEO‚ a financial director and portfolio managers. Redefine CEO Marc Wainer said at the time Redefine intended to run the trust along the lines of a listed company. Redefine had identified a number of projects that would add value to Fountainhead’s major retail assets‚ including Centurion Mall‚ The Brightwater Commons and Kenilworth Centre.
 
Wainer said there would also be a focus on restructuring the trust’s debt‚ while disposing of non-core‚ generally smaller properties.
 
Van Niekerk said on Tuesday much of his focus in the near term would be on “clarifying the strategy and focusing the portfolio”. The fund would maintain its retail bias‚ he said. A major focus would be on upgrades‚ extensions and refurbishments of Fountainhead’s retail assets‚ as well as possible acquisitions and disposals‚ Van Niekerk said. There were also opportunities to “improve the cost of debt” at Fountainhead.
 
Van Niekerk has previously held the role as MD of the Old Mutual Property-managed SA Corporate. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce honours degree from the University of Johannesburg.
 
“He has a total of 16 years investment experience‚ including being a rated listed property analyst at Standard Bank and head of quoted property at Old Mutual Investment Group SA‚” Fountainhead said.
 
Wainer was appointed executive director of Fountainhead in June. At the same time‚ Redefine directors David Rice and Andrew Konig were also appointed as executive directors of the trust.
 
Fountainhead was recently the target in an escalating bidding war between Redefine and Growthpoint‚ who both looked to acquire the trust’s portfolio worth more than R10bn. While Redefine withdrew its offer in March and Growthpoint withdrew in June‚ Growthpoint has said it is still interested in acquiring the assets
 
Growthpoint withdrew after the decision by Fountainhead board’s independent committee to cease engagement‚ although Growthpoint referred a number of claims to the Financial Services Board (FSB) and the JSE‚ including that Redefine be precluded from voting its shares in a unitholder vote.
 
Redefine said on Friday that following an investigation into Growthpoint’s allegations‚ the JSE had confirmed “that they have found no breaches by Redefine of the JSE listings requirements”.
 
Growthpoint had sought a ruling in its favour which would have allowed it to reopen negotiations to acquire the trust’s assets.
Last modified on Thursday, 17 April 2014 13:54

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