Liberty Two Degrees Limited (L2D) has released its summarised group results for the six months ended 30 June 2023, showcasing robust trading performance and significant distribution growth from its high-quality portfolio.
L2D’s outstanding performance in the first half of 2023 reflects its commitment to delivering value to shareholders. The company achieved a 100% distribution pay-out of 18.77 cents per share, representing a remarkable 7.4% increase compared to the first half of 2022. This distribution growth marks a positive sign of recovery and growth despite challenges in the domestic economic and operating environment.
The financial results for the first half of 2023 are impressive, with revenue reaching R511.7 million, a substantial 12.3% increase compared to the same period in 2022. Net property income rose to R295.9 million, marking a strong growth of 13.4% over the comparative period. Profit from operations reached R260.9 million, representing a robust 14.8% growth over the first half of 2022.
The company’s headline earnings surged to R171.1 million, showing a remarkable increase of 16.4% compared to the previous year. The basic and diluted earnings per share reached 25.06 cents, a significant growth of 125.0% over the first half of 2022. This substantial increase in earnings per share reflects L2D’s ability to generate value and deliver strong returns to its shareholders.
Retail Trading Performance
L2D’s retail portfolio delivered market-leading trading performance over the period, with improved annual trading density reaching R51,664/m2 in May 2023, representing a remarkable 13.0% growth compared to May 2022. The company’s super regional centers, such as Sandton and Eastgate, displayed impressive annual trading densities ahead of the Clur International Q1 2023 benchmarks.
The company concluded 197 leases (renewals and new deals) in the first half of 2023, equating to 67,763m2 of space, including both retail and office spaces. The retail portfolio reversion trend significantly improved, with rental reversions for retail renewals at -0.3% and office renewals at -20.4%, a substantial improvement from negative reversions in 2022.
Occupancy and Leasing Performance
L2D’s occupancy level improved to 93.6% in June 2023, with the retail occupancy rate at 97.1% and the office occupancy rate at 82.1%. The retail portfolio’s occupancy rate was marginally down compared to December 2022 due to Ster Kinekor vacating at Promenade. However, opportunities to relet this space are being reviewed.
Financial Strength and Portfolio Valuation
L2D continues to maintain a strong balance sheet with a Loan to Value (LTV) ratio of 24.58%, comfortably within banking covenant requirements. The company’s property portfolio was valued at R8.3 billion as of June 2023, a 1.2% increase compared to June 2022, based on independent third-party property valuations.
Despite challenges in the domestic economic and operating environment, leading indicators are positive, and L2D remains optimistic. The company’s portfolio’s improving trading densities provide support for its efforts to deliver on its operational strategy for the rest of the year. As the company continues to focus on cost optimization and strategic deployment of capital, it aims to sustain its strong performance and value creation for shareholders.
Declaration of Cash Distribution
The Board has approved a distribution of 18.77 cents per share for the six months ended 30 June 2023. Shareholders are advised of the timetable for the distribution as follows:
|Declaration||Monday, 31 July 2023|
|Last date to trade cum dividend||Tuesday, 22 August 2023|
|Shares trade ex-dividend||Wednesday, 23 August 2023|
|Record date||Friday, 25 August 2023|
|Payment date||Monday, 28 August 2023|