Redefine to the rescue?
Third time lucky for sale of property book
PRESUMABLY TRANSPORT conglomerate Super Group may not have headed down the rights offer road if its property portfolio – estimated at around R900m – had attracted a buyer. Last month Super Group – which has endured persistent scepticism with regard to its high gearing – announced a R750m rights offer pitched at 400c/share in a bid to retire burdensome debt.
It would seem likely that Super Group would only raise around R500m – the amount over which institutional shareholders such as Allan Gray and the PIC have given irrevocable undertakings.
But maybe a windfall from a property sale could help things along… Earlier this year Super Group proposed the sale of its R900m property portfolio in a bid to cash in on robust property prices and to slash debt levels. Recently listed SA Reit was initially named as the buyer for Super Group’s properties. However, that deal fell away as the property market waned and financing became tighter.
A few weeks ago Finweek reported that Australian-based Macquarie had emerged as a buyer for Super Group’s Super Park property (which comprises the bulk of its property portfolio). Apparently the deal with Macquarie was at an advanced stage when it was also called off.
Naturally, the industrial and commercial property market – despite a few positive signs over the past fortnight – has weakened considerably since Super Group first announced its intention to sell off its real estate. Whether it will fetch anything close to R900m for its property book is debatable, although Finweek hears that listed property group Redefine has taken a close look at Super Park.
Perhaps if Super Group can clinch a transaction to offload its property portfolio over the next few weeks, it will convince more minority shareholders to support its rights offer. Several commentators have already voiced their concerns about the prospects for Super Group after a particularly bad trading update last month, plus an admission that fraud had been uncovered at one of the company’s divisions.
Shareholder activist Theo Botha, a longtime critic of Super Group, asked how sure shareholders are that R700m of new funding was all Super Group needed to get back on track. “Have they really got their house in order? They need to present a comprehensive plan to investors.”