Fairvest, which owns retail centres in rural areas and small towns, has opted to retain its dividend policy of paying out 100% of distributable earnings, saying its assets had proved resilient during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The group, which has 44 properties valued at R3.49bn, said there had not been a significant rise in vacancies during SA’s lockdown, and that its focus on grocery-anchored shopping centres had paid off.

Vacancies during the group’s year to end-June climbed to 4.5%, from 4% previously, but have since declined to 3.2%, the group said on Wednesday.

Distribution for the group’s year to end-June decreased by 3.4% to 21.038c per share — or distributable earnings of R208m.

In the three months to end-June, credits of 10.5% of gross billings, or R15.7m, were conceded for 364 tenants, but the group said it had remained cash flow positive during the year.

Fairvest said it was able to fund all operational expenditure and interest payments from cash flows, without having to use undrawn debt facilities.

The group said the lasting effect of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown of the economy remains uncertain, but it expects distribution per share for 2021 to be at least in line with 2020.

Source: www.businesslive.co.za