The prevailing tough economic environment in SA continued to pose a challenge to the group. In line with market guidance for the six months ended 28 February 2019 ("the period"), Dipula recorded flat growth in dividends per share on a combined basis. This resulted in an increase in dividends per A-share in line with Dipula's distribution policy while the B-share dividend was marginally down on the prior period.
Acquisitions of R1.5 billion concluded during the latter part of the 2018 financial year resulted in a 23% increase in the value of the group's property portfolio and a significant enhancement in the quality of its assets. The period-on-period growth in revenue of 23% and distributable earnings of 19% was mainly due to these acquisitions.
The group maintained its strategy of maximising returns through, quality enhancing acquisitions, "sweating" its assets, strategic refurbishments and focused management.
Dipula's strategy to internalise the management of its portfolio is paying off as evidenced in its occupancies which are 23% higher than the prior period and the achievement of a 0.4% positive rental renewal rate under extremely challenging economic conditions.
Furthermore, the group was rewarded for its improved quality of assets and stability through a credit rating upgrade from BBB (ZA) long term and A3 (ZA) short term to BBB+ (ZA) long term and A2 (ZA) short term.