Zimbabwe a very difficult environment, Old Mutual

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OLD Mutual Zimbabwe says vacancies at its properties have grown to 19% as the operating environment in the country continues to deteriorate.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Old Mutual AGM last week, CEO Jonas Mushosho said the vacancies in the shopping mall business were even higher at 21%.
Mushosho said the vacancies reflect the nature of this environment.
“It is a very difficult environment. We know that businesses go through different cycles and, therefore, we engage our tenants in ways that are beneficial both to ourselves and them in the long term.
“Our clients have the option to either reduce their space or move out and when their lease comes for renewal, we negotiate the rentals,” said Mushosho.
He added that the performance of the group in the first quarter of the year was generally satisfactory.
“We run an integrated and diversified group and, therefore, the group has capacity more than other entities to absorb shocks that happen in a difficult environment, therefore, in that regard, our first quarter performance has been very satisfactory.
“Both the life and banking business posted very good results.”
The CEO, however, said it is difficult predict the future prospects of the business in the current operating environment.
The increasing vacancies at Old Mutual’s properties are in line with what other property companies in Zimbabwe have reported.
Average void levels for Zimbabwe Stock Exchange listed Zimre Property Investments increased to 19% in 2014 from 14% in 2013.Advertisement