South African billionaire Christo Wiese is planning to move into the serviced apartment sector in London after observing a strong growth in his UK property holdings.
In a statement to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Wiese’s Tradehold group revealed it was moving into the serviced apartments market, in addition to an continuing the expansion of his workspace enterprises. It’s Boutique Workplace Company (TBWC), which currently operates 31 business centres offering 3,500 work stations in London, is in the process of acquiring properties in London for transformation into branded serviced office space.
Tradehold, which includes Wiese’s UK property business Moorgarth, stated the strong growth in yield was due largely to the full-year effect of the acquisition of the central London serviced office rovider, Ventia. Its operations have been integrated with those of TBWC.
According to Serviced Apartment News, the statement says: “TBWC has been able to capitalise on the uncertainty and volatility in the market as companies, unwilling to enter into long-term commitments, sought flexible solutions for their businesses, turning increasingly to serviced office accommodation. In the light of this demand, Moorgarth is looking to expand its existing facilities in central London while also looking into the potential of serviced apartments in the same area. It is at present acquiring properties in the capital for the sole purpose of leasing these to TBWC for conversion to serviced-office space.
“At the same time the properties in Moorgarth’s existing portfolio all still offer considerable potential for further value enhancement which are being actively pursued.”
The majority of Tradehold’s property assets were held in the UK, until the company acquired the Collins Group’s South African portfolio of 152, mainly industrial buildings. Now, the majority of the group’s property assets are now in South Africa. “In addition to its property portfolios, which represent the bulk of its assets, Tradehold also owns financial services businesses in the UK and in South Africa.”
It has been reported that recent assets at Tradehold grew by 213% to £998m from £319m while revenue increased by 80% to £51.6m, compared to £28.7m last time. Total profit rose by 210% to £44.3m, including a £27m gain in the fair-value adjustment of its investment properties. Despite an increase of almost 59m in the number of shares in issue, core headline earnings per share increased 112% to 13.8p from 6.5p, and net asset value per share increased by 40% to 119.4p from 85.1p.