Vukile Property Fund has expanded its significant investment in South African township, rural and commuter shopping centres with its agreement to acquire the landmark Pan Africa Shopping Centre in Alexandra Township in Johannesburg, Gauteng, as well as the asset’s second phase extension due for completion in 2024. 

Vukile is a specialist retail REIT with assets of R33bn in South Africa (46%) and Spain (54%) through its 89.6% held Madrid-listed subsidiary Castellana Properties Socimi. 

This R669m Pan Africa Shopping Centre acquisition complements Vukile’s high-quality, low-risk retail property portfolio and positioning as a leading retail REIT in South Africa. 

Following the fulfilment of conditions precedent, the strategically aligned acquisition will be funded out of proceeds from sales and existing resources and will not affect Vukile’s current loan-to-value of 43%. 

Laurence Rapp, CEO of Vukile Property Fund, comments: “Vukile has been focused on recommencing growth in our core markets from a strong operational and financial position. 

“In early 2022, we successfully restarted our growth in Spain, and now we are particularly pleased to resume the growth of our South African portfolio with this major investment in Pan Africa Shopping Centre. By acquiring this asset and its future extension, we are deepening our core investment strategy in South Africa and adding value for our stakeholders.” 

The 16,000sqm Pan Africa Shopping Centre, superbly located in the heart of Alexandra’s iconic transport and retail hub, made history when it opened in 2009 to become South Africa’s first fully-integrated shopping mall and taxi facility. 

Refurbished in 2021/2, the centre is now well established and very well supported by its consumer market. It is anchored by Boxer with a high national retailer tenant component including Truworths, Pep, Mr Price, Ackermans, Jet, Clicks, Studio 88 and others. 

Based on its trading success, Pan Africa is set for a future 9,000sqm expansion, which has received overwhelming support, that will take it to over 25,000sqm. The acquisition agreement splits the transaction into two indivisible parts – the existing shopping centre and its future expansion. 

Vukile will acquire the shopping centre for R414.6m from its sellers, the Pan Africa Development Company, which is held by Atterbury Property (50.887%), Talis Holdings (47.337%) and Summit Ridge Trading 5 (1.776%). 

Vukile will also appoint the sellers to develop the centre’s second phase expansion, which it will acquire for R254.3m on opening in April 2024. 

Itumeleng Mothibeli, MD SA at Vukile, remarks, “Pan Africa Shopping Centre is an excellent asset for the Vukile portfolio, which is concentrated in the sweet spot in the SA retail market, with significant exposure to strongly performing township and rural shopping centres. 

“As is typical of our assets, it has a high percentage of essential services tenants, which further fortifies the defensiveness of our portfolio.”