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Showing posts from 2011

Special Report Podcast: Niki Vontas – CEO, Bonatla

Special Report Podcast: Niki Vontas – CEO, Bonatla Niki Vontas cries foul says communication process to shareholders is flawed. - DOWNLOAD THIS INTERVIEW ALEC HOGG: It’s Tuesday December 13 2011 and in this Boardroom Talk special podcast, Niki Vontas, chief executive of Bonatla Property, joins us now. Niki, good to have you on the programme, there’s been big developments in the Sharemax saga. From your perspective though, you did propose a rescue scheme and walked away, why? What was the background to that? NIKI VONTAS: I put together a proposal that was originally accepted by the directors of Sharemax and they circulate it to the constituencies. Unfortunately, if you remember, there were a lot of public debates and public analysis in the Financial Mail or the Finance Week in which I commented and obviously I commented on controversial findings of my due diligence and they invoked this disclosures to the press for canceling the transaction summarily for disclosure of, for a breach

Sharemax rescue hits speed bump

Sharemax rescue hits speed bump Court decision will take place next year, giving dissenters time to argue their case. Investors in Sharemax’s syndication companies will have to wait at least another month to hear if a proposed rescue plan will receive court approval. The North Gauteng High Court has delayed its decision until late January to allow dissenting investors time to argue why they believe the plan is flawed. This means that the immediate threat of liquidation has not yet been removed. It is generally agreed that a liquidation would crystalise billions of rands worth of losses for Sharemax’s 35 000 investors. These investors, many of them elderly, have placed roughly R4.5bn in Sharemax’s various syndication schemes. The rescue plan was presented to Judge Bert Bam this week for court sanction. According to those familiar with the process, court approval would have been virtually guaranteed, provided the plan was unopposed. However, an advocate representing a small handful

New Retail Trading Density Index launched

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New Retail Trading Density Index launched Shows foot traffic at shopping centres has declined, but spending has increased. An IPD (Investment Property Databank) Retail Trading Density Index has revealed that foot traffic in shopping centres across the country has declined in the past three years but that shoppers have been spending more over the same period. The IPD index has been compiled in collaboration with the South African Council of Shopping Centres. It tracks the performance of shopping centres based on information gleaned directly from the retail outlets’ owners and managers. The index will be released quarterly. The IPD’s Jess Cleland says while footfall has declined slightly shopping centres across the spectrum are showing higher turnovers. The index took into account super regional, regional, small regional and community shopping centres. The table below illustrates the turnover of the various shopping centre types for the year end to September 2011. Cleland sa

New property income fund lists on the JSE

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New property income fund lists on the JSE Plans several acquisitions and the Spar connection. Synergy Income Fund has listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) with a view to raising capital for possible acquisitions in 2012. CEO William Brooks says the company needs access to the capital markets “for further acquisitions that are well progressed and will be coming through early next year”. Most of Synergy’s properties are anchored by retail giant Spar or SuperSpar as part of a formal co-operating agreement between the fund and the Spar group. “We think that’s a real competitive advantage going forward,” Brooks says. Synergy’s portfolio includes Sediba Plaza Shopping Centre in Hartebeespoort, the Nzhelele Valley Shopping Centre in Makhado, Hubyeni shopping centre in Elim, Richdens Village Centre in Hillcrest, the KwaMashu Shopping Centre outside Durban and the Taxi City Shopping Centre in Newcastle. Brooks said the company was concentrating on the lower LSM segment of th

Re-zoning delays killing businesses

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Re-zoning delays killing businesses   Johannesburg’s processing of re-zoning applications is taking twice as long as it should, severely hampering the small businesses sector. According to a wide range of experts and professionals interviewed by Moneyweb, the processing of applications to re-zone residential land for commercial use has become excessively slow and is getting progressively worse. “Even if it’s a straight forward rezoning application, if it’s in line with the municipal policy, namely the regional spacial development framework (RSDF) … and there are no objections … you would be lucky to get it through in 12 months,” says George Van Schoor, a professional town planner at C-Plan consultants. Straight forward applications should take around six months according to Van Schoor. This is echoed by Jean-Luc Limacher, the CEO of SA’s biggest town planning consultancy Urban Dynamics. While “there is no question that there is a bottleneck,” Limacher notes that the processin

Joburg set to stop cut-offs after group goes to court

Joburg set to stop cut-offs after group goes to court The City of Joburg is set to halt its spate of electricity and water cut-offs after it was served with an urgent interdict this week. The Property Owners and Managers' Association (Poma) an organisation representing the majority of property owners in Joburg's inner city, obtained an order from the Johannesburg High Court calling for, among others, the suspension of cut-offs where there are legitimate queries on the city's chaotic billing system. And now it has emerged that after a meeting between Poma and council officials this week, an out-ofcourt settlement is likely to be reached. Maurice Crespi, managing partner at Schindlers Attorneys, which represented Poma, did not want to discuss the details of the settlement but said they were likely to be announced next week. "All I can say for now is there will be an outcome which will extremely beneficial to consumers," he said. "They (the city) have comm

Sharemax: Liquidation averted?

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Sharemax: Liquidation averted? Not quite, say critics, who think the rescue scheme may not get past a court. Sharemax investors have reportedly voted overwhelming in favour of a rescue scheme. The scheme aims to prevent the liquidation of syndication companies sold under the Sharemax banner. All that remains is for a court to sanction the scheme. But some believe this won’t happen. Approximately 35 000 investors, many of them elderly, have placed about R4.5bn in the various Sharemax schemes. Virtually all of these investors were acting on advice received from brokers who received generous commission from the sales. One of the most outspoken critics of the rescue scheme’s process is Niki Vontas, CEO of listed property stock Bonatla. Bonatla once proposed its own rescue scheme for Sharemax, but subsequently walked away from the deal. Vontas describes the Sharemax scheme as a “joke”. He says: “A competent judge will not validate such a ridiculous scheme.” Vontas is no strang

Joburg’s town planning blunder

Joburg’s town planning blunder “Disastrous” scheme to be delayed for years as it goes through appeal process. The implementation of Johannesburg’s new consolidated town planning scheme is likely to be delayed for up to a further two years as industry professionals take it on appeal to the townships board. The move to appeal, which will see as many as five separate industry bodies filing to have the scheme reworked, comes on widespread dissatisfaction with the quality and practicality of the key document. Industry bodies have accused Johannesburg of failing to properly consider submissions made during the consultation processes prior to the drafting of the document, resulting in inconsistent and contradictory definitions. Currently, Johannesburg has 14 separate town planning schemes which cover historic town council jurisdictions around Johannesburg, such as Sandton, Roodepoort and the CBD. In drafting the new legislation, Johannesburg has attempted to consolidate the rules and

World`s priciest streets (with SA comparison)

World`s priciest streets (with SA comparison) The most expensive address in the world is not in London, Paris, or New York. “The most expensive address in the world is not in London, Paris, or New York, as might be expected, but in Hong Kong,” says luxury home marketer Ronald Ennik, CEO of Ennik Estates (an affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate). “Homes on Severn Road in Hong Kong come with the highest price tag of US$78 200 (about R625 000) per square metre on a recent Wall Street Journal list of the 10 most expensive streets on the planet. “Named after Claude Severn, Governor of Hong Kong when it was a British colony, Severn Road was followed in second place by Britain’s most expensive street – London’s prestige Kensington Palace Gardens (a private road), which is priced at R605 000 per sqm,” says Ennik. “New York’s Fifth Avenue (R495 000 per sqm) came in at number five on the list, followed by Quai Anatole in Paris (R352 000 per sqm).” The rest of the Journal’s T

How to fix Africa - China perspectives

How to fix Africa - China perspectives Revealing insights from a key Chinese leader. African countries are getting the cheap goods they deserve and are forcing Chinese companies to keep prices so low that other operators can't compete on the continent. What's more, businesses in Africa pay their workers too much money, who also don't work as hard as the Chinese. If poor quality goods get through border posts, we should blame our own officials for failing to enforce controls - not Chinese manufacturers. And, while we are pondering China's successes in Africa, we may as well come to terms with the fact that China is indeed hugely interested in cushy resources deals and extra money-making opportunities for itself and its citizens. Of course, it sounds very unPC to set out the facts in this way. This is in an era in which China wants to be seen as the developing world's benevolent big brother, and its growing band of supporters across Africa shudder at the mere me

The Investment Case – Redefine Properties Ltd. - 101: For beginners

The Investment Case – Redefine Properties Ltd. A liquid property option. Listed property has become an increasingly popular investment in recent times. It has been one of the top performing asset classes of the past decade, offering good income returns as the sector's defensive qualities have stood up through the economic upheaval since 2008. Offering lower risk than equities and generally higher returns than bonds, listed property has become particularly attractive to more conservative investors looking for a growing income stream. As property funds pay out almost all of their income, they also serve as protection against inflation, since rental incomes generally increase in line with or slightly above inflation. While some analysts believe this performance from listed property funds is unlikely to continue, this sector continues to attract investor interest. As the second biggest local property fund on the JSE, Redefine has been one of the beneficiaries. Redefine's por

Rebosis to acquire several properties

Rebosis to acquire several properties In line with its strategy of acquiring large quality properties. Johannesburg, Dec 7 (I-Net Bridge) - Rebosis Property Fund (REB) the first black-managed and substantially black-held property fund to have listed on the JSE, announced on Wednesday that it had concluded agreements for the acquisition of letting enterprises and properties from several vendors. These vendors were listed as being Square Peg Properties (Proprietary) Limited and Rymer Trading CC (the Capital Towers acquisition"); Ziningi Properties (Proprietary) Limited (the "Revenue Building acquisition"); Swish Property Four (Proprietary) Limited (the "First Avenue acquisition"); Dream World Investments 374 (Proprietary) Limited (the "Harrison Street acquisition"); and Trifecta Prop 11 (Proprietary) Limited (the "SASSA Campus acquisition"); (each "a transaction" or "an acquisition" and together the "transactions&

Joburg`s new town planning scheme spells disaster

Joburg`s new town planning scheme spells disaster SAPOA says the city needs to go back to the drawing board. Johannesburg, Dec 5 (I-Net Bridge) - The City of Johannesburg's new town planning scheme is unworkable according to the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA). The City of Jo'burg implemented a new town planning scheme last week - The Consolidated Johannesburg Town Planning Scheme 2011 - intended to combine over a dozen different planning schemes or zoning regulations in the municipal area of Johannesburg into one set of uniform zoning provisions, without altering existing zoning or development rights attached to any particular property. However, SAPOA argued that instead of streamlining town planning in this growing city, the errors and inadequacies of the scheme were so severe that the city needed to go back to the drawing board. SAPOA also pointed to a number of alarming bombshells buried in its fine print.An effective appropriation of rights without

R4.6bn Pickvest rescue hinges on property billionaire

R4.6bn Pickvest rescue hinges on property billionaire Rescue practitioner says the choice is simple: Accept Georgiou’s deal, or liquidate. Pickvest investors stand to lose an estimated R3.8bn, or 81% of their capital, unless they accept a rescue offer proposed by controversial billionaire Nic Georgiou. This is the message from business rescue practitioner Hans Klopper who filed his plan to save the Pickvest property syndications on Wednesday. The rescue plan can be downloaded here . It was Georgiou who, through his companies, “guaranteed” the generous returns offered by Pickvest syndications. But these guarantees turned out to be worthless when problems started to emerge at the syndication giant earlier this year. Klopper was appointed to the eight Pickvest schemes in a bid to prevent their liquidation. His appointment provides the syndications with temporary protection from their creditors. This protection gives Klopper time to decide if the syndications can be saved. In the 6

Global housing markets struggling

Global housing markets struggling * Please see my page in Global Property Guide. www.globalpropertyguide.com/Africa/South-Africa/Lawyers ** This article was prepared by Global Property Guide: http://www.globalpropertyguide.com/ House prices fell in 25 countries, South Africa included. See comparison table on the Global Property Guide Website. The world’s housing markets had a weak third quarter of 2011, according to the latest survey of world-wide house price indices prepared by the Global Property Guide. During the year to end Q3 2011, house prices fell in 25 countries, of the 44 countries for which quarterly house price statistics are available, and rose in only 19 countries. Moreover, 26 housing markets performed more poorly during the year to the third quarter than last year, while only 18 countries performed better. The Global Property Guide’s statistical presentation uses price-changes after inflation, giving a more realistic picture than the more upbeat nominal f

Denny Crane

Denny Crane
It's not me ... yet. Denny Crane from the TV series Boston Legal. Click on picture if you're not sure who he is!