Published On: Mon, Dec 9th, 2013

South Africa: Brother And Sister Management Team Jeffrey and Sharon Wapnick Get Ready to Merge Their Property Concerns

The Wapnick family is reportedly in the final stages of uniting their giant property companies.

The face of Pretoria’s Hatfield node premiumproperties - 1000

Jeffrey Wapnick and one of his Premium Properties company’s projects

Wapnick family controlled companies,  Octodec Investments and Premium Properties, have taken a stage closer to amalgamation this week.

The property concerns were founded by Alec Wapnick, patriarch of the family, more than sixty years ago, and are run today by his children Jeffrey and Sharon Wapnick. Jeffrey is managing director of both companies while Sharon is non-executive director of Octodec Investments.

Octodec, one of the largest property companies in South Africa recently reported share distribution growth of 14.8% for the year ended August 2013, while Premium fared slightly less well with share distribution growth of 10.3% growth for the half year period that ended in August.

With Octodec recently having made the transition to becoming real estate investment trusts (REITs) last month, and Premium planning to do the same early next year, the path has now been paved for a possible merger of both property companies into a single Johannesburg Stock exchange listed entity.

Both Octodec and Premium trade as separate entities, and are both listed on the Johannesburg Stock exchange.

Unlike many of South Africa’s major property concerns, Octodec and Premium specialize in operating in the residential sector, which is more management intensive than other sectors.

Premium Properties

In recent years, both companies have acquired a number of derelict and dilapidated office buildings, principally in the central business districts of Pretoria and Johannesburg and converted the properties into high-end residential units.

Between them Octodec Investments and Premium Properties have a property portfolio numbering around 11, 000 residential units, . The value of Octodec’s and Premium’s current projects is around $60 million ( 600 million SA Rand). When all of their renovation projects are completed that figure is expected to rise to more than $100 million.

In order to manage their complex property portfolio, the Wapnick family founded their own property management concern. City Property, which has grown in the twenty years that it has been trading, to become the largest inner-city property agent in the Gauteng region of South Africa which takes in the principal population centers of Johannesburg and Pretoria.

The subject of a possible amalgamation of the two property owners was top of the list for discussion at Octodec’s annual general meeting held recently. Octodec chairwoman Sharon Wapnick said the family, who are majority shareholders, were “thrilled” with the “strong” support received from linked unitholders (shareholders) at the meeting, whose approval of this transaction marks the first step towards a possible merger between Premium and Octodec.

“ The combined entity makes more strategic sense in that it would simplify the corporate structure, free up management time and

create a more sizeable company with increased liquidity” , Ms Wapnick went on to point out.

 

Jeffery Wapnick has been the Managing Director of City Property Administration (Pty), Limited Octodec Investments Ltd and Premium Properties Ltd since October 1998, taking over from his father Alec.

Alec Wapnick remains the group’s principal shareholder with shares are valued at $42.5 million ( 425 million SA Rand) while Jeffrey holds shares to the value of $33.4 million, (334 million SA Rand), while Sharon Wapnick, holds shares to the value of $33.9 million (339 million SA Rand).

 

Ms. Sharon Wapnick, is a Partner of TWB Attorneys, based in the Johannesburg suburb of Sandown. Ms. Wapnick has acted as Chairperson for Octodec Investments Ltd since October 2011, as well as a Non Executive Chairman for Premium Properties Ltd since October 2010, and a non-executive director of Premium Properties Ltd since September, 1994 and director of Octodec Investments, Ltd from the same period.

The Wapnick family is known for their generous contributions towards the building and maintaining of public parks throughout Israel.

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