Prinsloo returns at the Hyprop helm
The reappointed CEO of JSE-listed Hyprop, Pieter Prinsloo, has been asked to steer a mamoth R20bn retail-focused property fund.
Pieter Prinsloo is probably the last person one would expect to trawl a chic fashion mall like Hyde Park, a favoured hangout of Johannesburg’s uber-wealthy. He’s not a keen shopper and he cares little for designer brands.
Yet luxury malls are where the recently reappointed CEO of JSE-listed Hyprop Investments feels most in his element. “Spotting redevelopment opportunities, negotiating lease agreements and improving tenant mix, layout and design to unlock value for shareholders is what I love about the retail property business,” says Prinsloo.
The unassuming quantity surveyor from Pretoria is back at the Hyprop helm after an absence of just more than two years. Prinsloo (46) was asked to return to steer what will soon become a mammoth R20bn retail-focused property fund with the takeover of Attfund’s R9bn shopping centre portfolio. The deal, which will position Hyprop as one of SA’s biggest mall owners, should become effective on August 1.
Hyprop director and industry veteran Marc Wainer believes there’s no better man for the job than Prinsloo. “We like his no-nonsense, hands-on approach.” Besides, Hyprop flourished under Prinsloo’s previous seven-year tenure as CEO, when the stock consistently outperformed the market both in income and capital growth.
He resigned as Hyprop CEO in February 2009 to head his own private development company. But Prinsloo says he couldn’t resist the challenge to help bed down the Attfund takeover. He will no doubt have his work cut out for him.
Attfund brings 11 new buildings to the mix, increasing Hyprop’s portfolio to 22. Apart from Hyde Park, the existing portfolio includes the Mall of Rosebank and The Glen in Johannesburg, as well as Canal Walk in Cape Town.
“Fortunately, our business strategies are similar so the integration shouldn’t be too cumbersome.”
But Prinsloo concedes the Attfund portfolio needs some tweaking. Though flagship centres such as Clearwater Mall on the West Rand and Woodlands Boulevard in Pretoria should enhance existing income streams from the outset, Prinsloo says Willowbridge Lifestyle Centre in Bellville, Cape Town, will have to be redeveloped. “The open-air format isn’t suited to Cape Town’s unpredictable weather patterns and the tenant mix competes with nearby Tyger Valley.”
Prinsloo will also sell the three office blocks inherited from Attfund in line with Hyprop’s focus on regional and super-regional malls exceeding 30000m²
The long-awaited redevelopment of the Mall of Rosebank is another big challenge that Prinsloo will tackle over the coming months. The mall’s expansion from the current 37000m² to 60000m² should be complete by mid2013.
Who will fill the additional space? Prinsloo says there’s plenty of demand from local retailers. Moreover, overseas retailers, including the likes of Spanish fashion brand Zara, the UK’s Topshop, Cotton On from Australia and Burger King, are also keen to expand their footprints to SA.