Property outfit Turnstar Holdings is looking to expand its footprint to the Middle East and has set its eyes on Dubai as the next destination in its expansion trail. The company which owns and manages one of the leading shopping malls in the country – Game City – disclosed in its financial results for the year ended January 2017 that it is currently in negotiations to acquire an office block in Dubai. Turnstar, which is one of the leading listed property giants on Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) with a market capitalisation of about P1.8 billion, says it has been actively looking at the existing property market in Dubai to identify an investment for the company. Such investment in Dubai is expected to boost Turnstar’s geographical footprint as well as minimise foreign exchange risk. According to information provided by Turnstar, the property in Dubai will be bought for cash and will give it a return of 10 percent per year. Turnstar already owns property outside Botswana and a notable example is Mlimani City, a shopping mall located in Dar es Salaam, Tanzanian capital. The company is currently developing the Mlimani City mall to add more space to it. It is reported that phase three of the project is now complete. In addition to Game City mall which recently underwent expansion with new tenants already starting to occupy new space, Turnstar owns another shopping complex just outside the capital in highly dense Mogoditshane where Supa Save is an anchor tenant. Another retail property of Turnstar in Botswana is Nzano mall in Francistown while others are classified as commercial that incorporates office, residential and industrial.
Despite the local property market seemingly saturated in particular in urban areas, according to some industry analysts, Turnstar has seen a surge in revenue despite removing some tenants from Game City and Mlimani City during the period when these malls were undergoing expansions. Turnstar – led by founding member and current Managing Director Gulaam Abdoola – says another issue that worked against it and subsequently caused loss of revenue is the trading licence issue. The issue of trading licenses with the local ministry of trade meant tenants could not occupy space though they were ready to. Turnstar says the issue is now over as it been resolved by the involved parties and tenants are free to occupy the space. During the period under review, Turnstar recorded a three percent increase in lease revenue from P247.6 million in the previous corresponding period to P254.6 million. The Tanzanian subsidiary contributed more than half of Turnstar group’s total revenues. Revenue from Tanzania contributed P130.8 million which represents 51 percent contribution. Rental income in Botswana went down by two percent to P129.9 million which is said to have been caused by the sale of the Fairground Office Park property and displacing of tenants during construction.