February 2021 – The past twelve months have been the most unexpected and tumultuous in world history. Who would have expected to have their businesses shut down by government edicts or that freedom of movement and travel was to be severely restricted. This is before we start doing body counts and counting the incredible damage to economies and people’s lives.
Despite all of the above our focus has to remain on the wellbeing of Orion and its people. The survival strategy implemented in April 2020 was quite simple;
- Preserve cash at all costs
- Cut any and all unnecessary or superfluous costs
- Put extreme focus on efficiency and productivity
- Reduce headcount to the absolute extreme minimum
- Tackle each day as a new start
This strategy has paid huge dividends.
- All round efficiencies have improved dramatically
- Orion Real Estate Ltd successfully listed as a REIT on the ZARX Stock Exchange on 23 April 2020 (During Hard lockdown). This virtual listing was a world first
- Orion Real Estate Ltd produced a sterling set of financial results for the year ended 30 September 2020
- Net Asset value increased to R602 million
- Net asset value per share increased to 94,22 cents per share
- Net profit before tax increased to R23,2 million
- Mortgage LTV’s down to 13,3%
- Most properties debt free.
- The hotel business was completely restructured under 51% BEE control and the NEW Orion Hotels & Resorts (SOUTH AFRICA) has so far survived and will continue to fight forward until the tide turns in their favour.
- The Bakwena Day Spa’s managing to break even during this difficult time.
- Team spirit and collaborative efforts in the Group have improved substantially
- Relationships with tenants and customers have improved
- Mortgage debts have reduced substantially
- Trade creditors have reduced substantially
The commercial property letting activities underpinned by developing strong broker relationships is continuously producing positive results with our retail spaces almost fully let and office leases being signed and renewed despite the changing office landscape. Both Promenade centre and Wendywood centre are currently in the planning stages of major refurbishments and/or expansions. National tenants have expressed strong interest in both.
Adversity always presents opportunity and our strong balance sheet with most properties debt free allows us to explore acquisitions and mergers. To this end we are in the final stretch of finalising deals worth R200 million.
Our BEE initiatives are making headway with the restructure of Orion Hotels & Resorts (South Africa) and the new start up Orion- AAG. We have high expectations for both. The facilities management opportunities are still being explored and we are looking forward to securing a substantial deal this year.
More than ever the collaborative efforts and support from our directors, partners, staff, suppliers, contractors, tenants, customers and financiers have made the difference between winning and losing.
From the bottom of my heart and with sincere gratitude I wish to thank everyone who made our survival and growth possible.
Let’s all stand together to fight this terrible scourge COVID-19.
As they say in the classics “AND THIS TOO SHALL PASS”