Botswana Stock Exchange-listed property dealer PrimeTime Holdings says it is beginning to see positive results from its geographical diversification into Zambia. In the year ended 31 August 2017, the Zambian operation contributed 20 percent to the rental income and is expected to increase over the next few years. The management of the company says it invested a considerable amount of time in the expansion of the group over the last year and this is expected to reflect in returns going forward. “By the end of the 2018 financial year we will have completed a further two retail centres in the country, bringing the total expected value of our Zambian properties to over US$50million,” said the group Managing Director Sandy Kelly in a statement. In Botswana Kelly said the group is looking forward to Pilane Crossing Mall becoming the successful retail centre it was envisaged to be. He said tenanting of the mall has been a hurdle with partial settlement of the widely reported trade license being achieved more than a year after the mall opened. With several large shops standing empty for months, Kelly said this put pressure on the initial tenants in the centre. “Its first year has sadly seen some tenant failures and PrimeTime has suffered financially with a total loss of rental income and bad debts in excess of P2m for the financial year reported on,” he said.
Things are however said to be looking positive with several shops having commenced trading in the last few weeks. Currently, the centre is being expanded to accommodate a drive-through for a fried chicken outlet. In terms of financial performance for the whole year, PrimeTime registered a year-on-year increases in both revenues and operating profits before fair value adjustments. “The cumulative net fair value adjustments for the year have negatively impacted on the final bottom line net profit figure and hence earnings per linked unit,” Kelly said. A number of factors are said to have caused this, including the consideration of the remaining period on ground leases, low occupancy levels in certain of properties and the suppression of rentals in the commercial sector. During the period under review, Kelly said significant additions were made to the investment property portfolio with the Pilane Crossing development commencing trading at the end of September 2016 and the acquisition of the group’s largest asset by value - Centro Kabulonga, Lusaka. Under the current period PrimeTime achieved rental income of P119.4 million from P91.2 million recorded in the previous corresponding period.