Sanlam has R1bn to invest

Posted On Wednesday, 08 February 2006 02:00 Published by
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After several years as a net seller of property, insurance giant Sanlam has a new appetite for investment
After several years as a net seller of property, insurance giant Sanlam has a new appetite for investment and will be spending about R1bn on the development or acquisition of new properties for Sanlam and listed property fund Vukile in the next 18 months.

Banus van der Walt, MD of Sanlam Properties, which acts on behalf of Sanlam and Vukile, says that the group is "very happy" with its existing property

portfolio but that, with the growth of Sanlam's business, there is again more appetite to grow the group's property exposure.

He says that within the next month Sanlam will be announcing the development of a new office building in Gauteng worth about R50 million.

Van der Walt says this development will be built "completely on risk".

"But it is in a prime locality and we expect to be able to pre-let it before its completion," he says.

This is Sanlam's first office property development in Gauteng in five

years. The last office development completed by the group was in Sunninghill five years ago.

Van der Walt says Sanlam will also be getting more involved in other property development in the future. "We still have about 300000m² of bulk

land available for development across SA," he says.

Last year alone Sanlam spent R300m on upgrades, extensions and renovations to its property portfolio.

Sanlam is also involved in residential property developments, with two under way in Midrand and Johannesburg. The Midridge residential development in Midrand and the Houghton Village residential development in Houghton,

Johannesburg are aimed at the middle to higher end of the market. Sanlam has in recent years changed tack after being a net seller of property. Van der Walt says that over a period of eight years Sanlam sold about R8bn worth of properties. These were properties which did not fit

Sanlams profile or its portfolio requirements in that many were old, non-core properties in bad locations.

A second reason for being a seller at this time was the issue of liquidity.

"We also had to create liquidity in the portfolio as well. That is why we sold a lot of properties.

"We sold some properties to the listed property sector in return for

shareholding in the funds we had sold the properties to," says Van der Walt.

Although Sanlam is now looking to buy and develop properties, it will still

continue to sell some of the other properties, he says.

Business Day
Publisher: I-Net Bridge
Source: I-Net Bridge

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