Stor-Age grows occupancies despite lockdown


Stor-Age grows occupancies despite lockdown

Published Date: 2020-11-18 | Source: Stephen Gunnion | Author: Stephen Gunnion

Stor-Age grows occupancies despite lockdown

The self storage property specialist says enquiry levels returned to pre-Covid-19 levels by the end of May as restrictions were eased.

Stor-Age has drawn more customers to its self-storage units in SA and the UK despite the impact of Covid-19. It says its specialised digital marketing platform helped it to increase tenants and revenue in a particularly difficult trading environment due to the constrained SA economy and the uncertain outlook for the UK - even before the outbreak of the pandemic.

The specialist property fund grew total occupancies to 86% in the six months ended September, up from 83.8% a year earlier, with both geographies showing improvements. Stor-Age owns 50 self storage properties in SA and 21 in the UK, worth R4.5 billion and R2.8 billion respectively. In the UK, a further seven properties trade under the licence of the Storage King brand, generating licence and management fees for the group.

Although there was a drop in activity in April in May, and a decrease in occupancies, by the end of May enquiry levels had returned to pre-Covid-19 levels.

Property revenue rose 18% to R391 million and retail income grew 21.3% to R355 million. Distributable earnings increased by 2.8% to R220 million. It's lowered its interim dividend by 5.3% to 52c per share.

Last month, Stor-Age entered a joint venture with real estate fund manager Moorfield to help expand its UK footprint. The two companies plan to develop a portfolio of self storage properties, focused on London and the south east of England, with an initial value of approximately £50 million (R1.1 billion) and the potential to increase to £100 million.

In May, it bolstered its liquidity position by securing R250 million of new equity in a bookbuild. It said its loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of 26.7% remained conservative and it had access to R496 million of undrawn debt facilities.

Its shares rose 6.1% to R13.01 yesterday.

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