Archives for June 18, 2024

Stor-Age delivers robust operating and financial performance for FY24

JSE REIT Stor-Age, South Africa’s leading and largest self storage property fund, continued its track record of consistent earnings growth delivering an excellent set of trading results for the year ended 31 March 2024. During the period the company continued executing its strategic growth strategy, adding a further 12 properties to the portfolio. The Group’s performance continues to demonstrate the strength of its market-leading platform and its specialist sector skills and experience across both South Africa and the UK.

Highlights

  • Dividend and returns: Final dividend of 56.81 cents declared, with a total return of 13.3% (distribution and net tangible asset value growth per share)
  • Financial performance: Rental income up 14.8%, occupancy up 10 700m² and net investment property value up 8.8% to R11.3 billion
  • Portfolio growth: Added 12 properties, representing 72 500m² GLA, with the total portfolio, including developments, now exceeding 650 000m² GLA
  • Strategic partnerships: Entered third-party management agreement with Hines post year end, expanding managed properties to 23
  • Balance sheet management: Successful debt auction raised R500 million below price guidance post year end, with a loan-to-value ratio of 31.4% and 85% of net debt subject to interest rate hedging at year end
  • Environmental sustainability: Expanded solar PV roll-out, investing R42 million during the year and reducing carbon footprint by 19%
  • Future outlook: Confident in business model’s resilience, forecasting distributable income per share of 122 to 126 cents for FY25

 

Stor-Age CEO Gavin Lucas comments, “We are pleased with our robust performance in FY24, driven by gains in occupancy, rental rates and strategic expansions. While SA demonstrated exceptional growth, the UK performance was steady and resilient, after three incredibly strong years. Our excellent strategic, financial and operational position in both markets remains intact. Looking ahead, we continue to focus on growth opportunities while maintaining a conservative capital structure.”

Since Stor-Age listed on the JSE in 2015, the property portfolio has grown from 24 properties to 103, and the value of the portfolio, including properties managed in JV partnerships, has increased from R1.3 billion to R17.3 billion2.

The company has continued its focus on driving an increase in both rental income and occupancy across the portfolio. Total occupancy across both markets increased by 10 700m2 during the year, while rental income grew by 14.8%.

In South Africa, building on the strong performance in FY23, same-store rental income increased by 12.7% year-on-year and occupancy in the portfolio grew by 8 700m2 compared to the prior year.

In the UK, despite a transitioning macro environment with high interest rates and inflationary pressures, the company’s trading performance remained resilient. Average rental rates increased by 4.7% and while the average occupancy over the period was 1.6% lower, occupancy at year end was up 2 000m2.

Stor-Age made excellent strategic progress opening or acquiring 12 trading properties (SA 4; UK 8), adding 72 500m2 GLA on full fit-out. In South Africa this includes properties in Bryanston and Morningside in Johannesburg, and in Paarden Eiland and Pinelands in Cape Town. In the UK, the company concluded the acquisition of the four-store Easistore portfolio in the south east of England, and completed the developments of properties in Bath, Heathrow, West Bromwich and Canterbury. Each of these properties were acquired or developed in joint venture (JV) partnerships with leading institutional and private equity partners.

Comments Lucas, “We continue to work with our existing JV partners, and engage with new partners, to consider opportunities for future acquisition, development and redevelopment. This allows us to allocate capital across a number of opportunities, and to mitigate the financial impact of the lease-up. We remain confident that the long-term return profile on invested capital through our JV partnerships will be value-accretive as new developments lease up to mature occupancy levels.”

Another key focus has been the growth of the company’s third-party management offering. Currently a total of 23 properties are operating on this platform, 17 of which are in the UK. This includes a three-property portfolio in Kent, in the southeast of England, which was acquired post year end by Hines, a privately owned global real estate investment, development and management firm with a presence in 30 countries and $94.6 billion of assets under management. Comments Lucas, “The management contract concluded with Hines in May this year further supports the high regard with which Storage King is regarded in the UK self storage market, reaffirming the high quality and sophistication of our operating platform.” This third-party offering allows the company to generate additional revenue with minimal capital investment by leveraging its operating infrastructure.

Stor-Age has continued its focus on environmental sustainability, further expanding its solar PV roll-out strategy across the South African and UK portfolios. To date, the company has invested R63.5 million into renewable energy, generating over 6.0 million kWh of solar power. Currently, 58% of the portfolio has solar capacity, helping it achieve a 19% reduction in its total scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon footprint during the year.

Stor-Age is forecasting its distributable income per share to be approximately 122 to 126 cents for FY25.

The share closed on Friday at R13.50.

1 As at 31 May 2024. Includes properties held in JVs and managed by the group
2 As at 31 March 2024