THE BOTTOM LINE
The only sales going down in property are by shareholders
Investors take a dim view of constant chopping and changing of senior managers at listed property giants
The listed property sector has been hit by a number of unexpected management changes, further denting already fragile investor confidence. On Tuesday, industry veteran Pieter Prinsloo quit as CEO of blue chip mall owner Hyprop Investments, which saw the share price drop to a new two-year low of around R90.
Prinsloo, who was at the Hyprop helm for 14 years, will be replaced by Morné Wilken, the CEO of European-focused MAS Real Estate. Wilken, previously the CEO of Mall of Africa owner Attacq, has only been at MAS since January. The company has not yet appointed a successor for Wilken. The MAS share price is down around 7% over the past week.
In another surprise move, Texton Property Fund CEO Nosiphiwo Balfour tendered her resignation last month. Texton’s share price has shed around 16% since Balfour’s departure was announced on September 14, barely a year after she took over the reins from Nic Morris.
Investec Property Fund also announced leadership changes in July, with CEO Nick Riley to make way for new joint CEOs Andrew Wooler and Darryl Mayers from December 1.
Property investors are no doubt unsettled by some of these executive moves, particularly given that market sentiment has already taken a massive knock this year. The South African listed property index has tumbled 27% year to date, partly due to the sell-off of the Resilient stable of shares following allegations of insider trading and share price manipulation.
The sector has also disappointed on the income growth front, with dividend payouts up only around 5% for the June reporting period, down from an average 10% last year.