Liberty Two Degrees exits JSE
Liberty Two Degrees (L2D) – the real estate investment trust (Reit) that owns around 25% of several landmark properties like Sandton City, Eastgate and Liberty Midlands Mall – terminated its listing on the JSE on Tuesday (14 November).
This comes in the wake of the property counter being brought back into the Liberty Group fold following a buyout deal announced in July by Liberty (which is owned by JSE-listed banking and financial services giant Standard Bank Group).
It brings to an end L2D’s almost seven-year listing on Africa’s biggest bourse; it listed on the JSE back in December 2016.
“On 27 July 2023, Liberty Group Limited and L2D announced Liberty’s intention to buyout the minority shareholders in L2D, in terms of a scheme of arrangements and subsequently delist L2D from the JSE,” it noted in a statement on Tuesday.
“Liberty is pleased to announce that all scheme conditions have been met, with the required approvals in place for the successful conclusion of the transaction,” it added.
“This finalises the acquisition of L2D minority shares by Liberty at R5.55 per share and results in the termination of the listing of L2D shares on the JSE on 14 November 2023.”
As at the end of its 2024 half-year period (to 30 June 2023), L2D’s property portfolio was valued at R8.3 billion. The Reit’s major shareholder is Liberty Group, but other key shareholders included Coronation and RMB Morgan Stanley.
Interestingly, L2D issued a Sens announcement on Tuesday disclosing that RMB Morgan Stanley had “acquired a beneficial interest” in L2D securities, taking the latter’s stake to 8.05%.
Meanwhile, commenting on the Liberty deal, L2D’s CEO Amelia Beattie said: “L2D sought to create value for stakeholders by producing a market-leading operational performance, reporting ahead of industry benchmarks in a challenging operating environment.
“We are pleased to be part of the broader Standard Bank Group, where L2D is enabled to operate within a larger organisational context and create value for a larger stakeholder base.”
According to L2D, the property counter continues to be a key player in the property industry, managing Africa’s most iconic assets.
“In the broader context of L2D’s offering, the assets within the L2D portfolio have played a larger stewardship role in the industry and the communities in which they operate, creating more jobs and contributing to socioeconomic development, while supporting tenant businesses in challenging times. The retail assets in the portfolio are green-star rated by the Green Building Council of South Africa, with Sandton City and the L2D office being 6-star rated, showcasing environmental leadership,” it pointed out.
Liberty CEO Yuresh Maharaj said the group has always valued its investment in L2D.
“[We] expect this transaction to facilitate the consolidation of our high-quality property assets and enhance the options to unlock the full potential of these assets,” he said.
“Furthermore, L2D will be in a stronger position to achieve scale and create additional value now that L2D is a wholly owned subsidiary within the Standard Bank Group.”