In what is the biggest property deal in South African history, London-based private property company London & Regional Properties, Istithmar, the investment arm of the government of Dubai, and a high-profile consortium of black empowerment investors have won the bid to purchase Cape Towns Victoria and Alfred (V&A) Waterfront. They beat nine other contenders to secure the R7 billion ($1.3 billion) transaction.
Under the terms of the deal London & Regional will hold 50,1 per cent of the stake in a new controlling company, Lexshell, while Istithmar will have a 24,8 per cent shareholding and the group of black investors, which includes DIH, the holding company of private equity concern Decorum, and the Western Cape Women's Investment Alliance, the remaining 25,1 per cent.
Situated between Table Mountain and Robben Island in Table Bay, the V&A Waterfront, comprising restaurants, offices, shops, a harbour and an aquarium, already attracts 22 million visitors a year. Planning permission is in place for further development and the new owners intend to turn the area into a fully world-class resort that can be a focal point for the FIFA World Cup 2010, according to Richard Livingstone, director of London & Regional Properties.
Previous owner state transport utility Transnet announced the sale of the property in June this year as part of a strategy to dispose of non-core assets and free up cash for a R64 billion infrastructure investment programme.