RMB Westport raises R2,3 billion for West African Property

Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font
Map of West Africa Map of West Africa

FirstRand Bank Ltd, said the property unit of its investment banking arm raised R2,3 billion for its Real Estate Development Fund aimed at developing real estate assets in West Africa.

The money will be used to supply the “strong demand for high-grade retail and commercial property,” Johannesburg-based RMB Westport said in an e-mailed statement. Nigeria, Ghana and Angola have been “earmarked as key jurisdictions in which to develop retail and commercial property.”

RMB Westport opened its doors in 2008 when Rand Merchant Bank (RMB)‚ through its Real Estate Investment Banking division entered into a joint venture with the Westport Property Group to combine west African property development skills‚ capital and investing expertise to enable the construction and development of high-grade retail‚ commercial and industrial property assets in key growth nodes of sub-Saharan Africa.

An increasing proportion of Africa’s population is moving into urban areas as economic growth quickens, with houses and malls being built in major cities including Accra, Abuja and Luanda, the capitals of Ghana, Nigeria and Angola respectively.

O’Malley says the discovery of oil in Ghana will likely lead to a further increase in investor interest and subsequent demand for office and industrial space.

RMB Westport is no newcomer to Africa. Some of RMB Westport’s biggest projects (at various levels of completion) include: Icon House and Accra Financial Centre (A-grade buildings in Ghana); Ikeja City Mall (the largest shopping mall in Nigeria); Osapa Retail (Phase I) and Project Wings (Office and retail property in Nigeria) and recently the Junction Shopping Centre (retail property in Accra‚ Ghana).

“Africa currently has the world’s highest rate of urbanisation. This migration‚ along with Africa’s growing middle-class further reinforces the need for high grade office space and retail buildings in urban areas. The city of Luanda was for example built for a population of 300 000 and currently has over six million inhabitants‚” adds Alan Wilson‚ CFO of Westport.

Wilson says that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently forecast Nigeria’s economy to grow by 6.9% – a rate which‚ if sustained‚ will eventually lead to Nigeria overtaking South Africa as the largest economy in Africa.

“We believe that regulatory reforms in Nigeria‚ along with its sheer population size‚ oil wealth and strong economic growth trend‚ make it a market that is difficult to ignore‚” adds Wilson.

Although many property developers and financiers play in this highly competitive industry‚ RMB Westport believes their delivery of property development projects on time and on budget‚ will continue to stand them in good stead. The team has extensive experience in real estate development in Africa over a number of years.

Rand Merchant Bank, a division of FirstRand Bank Ltd, is a leading investment bank in South Africa and boasts an exceptional track record of activity in other African countries, with strong market positions in its four primary businesses – financial markets, investment banking, advisory and principal investments.


Enter your e-mail address below using Lowercase.