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Competition Commission approves Growthpoint – Acucap deal

Paving way for Acucap’s delisting from the JSE.

The Competition Commission has given the green light to Growthpoint Properties’ takeover of Acucap Properties, putting the long-anticipated deal to bed.

The deal was approved on Wednesday without conditions, making Acucap the latest listed property takeover in a sector characterised by consolidation.

Acucap will now become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Growthpoint. The deal could be effective from May 1, which would result in the delisting of Acucap from the JSE.

Growthpoint’s acquisition of Acucap gives the property heavyweight more exposure to retail assets beyond its flagship assets including Brooklyn Mall in Pretoria and retail sections of the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. Growthpoint owns 50% of the V&A Waterfront.

The deal, described by Growthpoint as the largest in the company’s history, will afford it access to Acucap’s Bayside Mall in Cape Town, East Rand Value Mall in Boksburg, Festival Mall in Kempton Park and more.

Growthpoint, the largest JSE-listed property company by market capitalisation (R69 billion) has said in the past that it is looking to bolster its retail portfolio, given that the sector is defensive in light of economic headwinds.

Its local property portfolio is valued at R76 billion, with office assets valued at R24.3 billion, R15.8 billion for retail, industrial representing R9.3 billion and the balance made up of Growthpoint Australia – its offshore investment.

The Acucap transaction would grow Growthpoint’s asset base by R18 billion to nearly R100 billion.

Growthpoint’s bid for Acucap began in April, when it acquired a 34.9% stake in the company – triggering a mandatory offer to increase its stake.

At the same time it also acquired a 31.5% stake in Sycom Property Fund (Sycom), which owns retail assets such as Southgate Mall and Fourways Crossing in Johannesburg and Somerset Mall in Cape Town. The counter also owns offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

The finalisation of the transaction would also see Growthpoint owning 99% of Sycom units directly or indirectly.

“Besides strategic growth with the excellent assets, the proposed transaction also means Growthpoint would take on an experienced asset management team and benefit from operational synergies and cost savings with a combined Growthpoint, Acucap and Sycom portfolio,” says Growthpoint CEO Norbert Sasse.

Growthpoint shares were up by 1.4% to R29.60 at 11:34 during Wednesday’s trade.

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