R3.9 billion for five shopping malls in South Africa – huge sale gets the green light

 ·19 Oct 2023

The Competition Commission has unconditionally approved the sale of five shopping malls in South Africa, carrying a total transaction value of R3.9 billion.

The commission approved the proposed transaction of the malls by Hangar 18, which intends to acquire five retail property letting enterprises from Rebosis Property Fund Limited.

Baywest Mall is of particular interest as it is a more recent build and is the largest shopping mall in the Eastern Cape at 87,000 square metres. Baywest was acquired for R1.25 billion in the deal.

The 74,000 square metre Hemingways Mall was acquired for a slightly higher price at R1.265 billion.

Hemingways Mall, East London

The other malls included in the sale are Sunnypark Shopping Centre in Pretoria, Forest Hill City in Centurion and Bloed Street Mall also in Pretoria.

The malls and their sales prices are as follows:

  • Hemingways Mall, 74,000sqm: R1 265 million
  • Baywest Mall, 87,000 sqm: R1 250 million
  • Sunnypark Mall, 27,500 sqm: R530 million
  • Forest Hill City, 75,000 sqm: R500 million
  • Bloedstreet Mall, 25,700 sqm: R350 million

Rebosis, a JSE-listed Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), entered into business rescue in August 2022, following years of deterioration in financial performance.

The group was established by the Billion Group in 2010 and became the first black-managed and substantially black-owned property fund to be listed on the JSE.

While the company owned a number of high-value income-generating properties – including several large malls – the group came under increasing financial pressure in recent periods, which resulted in the group’s financial position deteriorating significantly.

Baywest Mall, Eastern Cape

Some notable pressures included the rising interest rate cycle on servicing debt costs as well as an inability to recover increased municipal costs from sovereign tenants.

To address the group’s ballooning debt, the group’s business rescue practitioners (BRPs) embarked on a sale of around 41 properties, which include a mix of commercial properties and retail centres.

Hangar 18 is a special-purpose vehicle that is not controlled by any firms, the commission noted.

“The commission found that the proposed transaction is unlikely to result in substantial prevention or lessening of competition in any relevant markets. The commission further found that the proposed transaction does not raise substantial public interest concerns,” it said.

Bloedstreet Mall, Pretoria

Read: Another one of South Africa’s biggest malls just sold for R1.6 billion

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