• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Why returns to investors matter –Novare CEO

Lekki Mall, 3 others up for sale in Novare’s surprise move

Novare Real Estate Nigeria, a subsidiary of Novare Holdings recently celebrated the 6th anniversary of its mall, Novare Lekki Mall, Lagos, the largest mall in Nigeria. Hein Du Plessis, chief executive officer, Novare Fund Manager Nigeria Ltd, in this interview with Modestus Anaesoronye discussed the anniversary, 10 years of Novare providing A Grade retail property in Nigeria, operations across Africa, and long-term plans in Nigeria.

Tell us about Novare’s journey, and challenges you had to navigate to get where you are today?

Like you rightly said, Novare’s first mall, which is also the first modern retail mall in Abuja, was constructed 10 years ago. Since then, we have developed three other commercial properties, including this Lekki Mall, which is the largest mall in Lagos by gross built area. We have grown organically, and we enjoy the patronage of both the mall’s customers and the tenants. We remain committed to providing the best shopping experience in Nigeria comparable to world best international standards and best real estate investment opportunities for potential investors.

Novare adopts an integrated and hands-on approach in its property development and management, which has helped it build and operate international standard properties, both in Nigeria and in other African countries. Can you talk more on this?

That is very correct. Like I already mentioned, we have grown organically, and we provide integrated services. We operate a Build, Own and Operate model for our investors by not outsourcing our services. Our property development, leasing and management services are all done internally. This gives us 360 degrees approach and understanding of the property market. We have direct relationships with our tenants. That way, we are able to understand and support them better. The management of the properties are done internally by the centre management and operations team. With this, we ensure optimum maintenance of the properties. We are able to leverage on economies of scale to reduce cost of management and remain ahead in the property market.

Your company focuses more on building retail and commercial properties. Why that special area of interest?

We are not just in the property business; we are in the business of properties. Our investments are guided by rigorous R and D process. Research has shown that the retail and commercial properties provide some of the highest returns on investment for investors. Accordingly, part of our investment strategy is to only invest in retail and commercial properties. This may change as the market continues to develop, but our strategy has proven to be well thought out and provides attractive and sustained ROI for our investors.

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The Novare Group is a strong player across several markets in Africa: Nigeria, Mozambique and Zambia, attracting investments from both local and international investors. Tell us about the access Novare is providing for local investors to invest in the real estate sector?

Novare, through its Fund and Asset Management Company, Novare Fund Manager Nigeria Ltd provides fund management services with specific mandate for investment in real estate. Currently, the funds used in developing the assets we manage are all direct foreign investments. We are creating an investment opportunity to enable local investors to participate in the real estate market. We should be able to communicate more on this exciting opportunity soon.

What will you consider has been Novare’s contributions to the real estate business in Africa, particularly in Nigeria, and to the macro economy on the continent?

Our primary focus remains to provide excellent investment opportunities for our investors, whilst managing the existing portfolio to international standards. That has been and will continue to be our focus for Nigeria and other jurisdictions we operate in. We pride ourselves with the level of maintenance in our properties thereby ensuring the longevity of the assets in a cost-effective manner. Lastly, we continue to provide an avenue for investors to make good ROI by creating more opportunities as well as create more jobs in Nigeria to impact positively on the GDP.

Novare has done so much in terms of attracting foreign direct investment to the real estate sector in Nigeria from across the world. What do you think will determine interest in the Nigerian real estate market in the next few years?

A key driver will be the capacity of the real estate manager to consistently deliver compelling returns on investment to investors through innovations that meet the needs of both the investors and consumers. I believe Novare is very well positioned to facilitate this growth through the experience it has gained over the last decade in doing business in Nigeria.

What are your growth and expansion plans in the near to medium term in Nigeria and Africa?

We are constantly evaluating opportunities that arise in the real estate sector, and plan to increase the portfolio over time through a dedicated programme, which we would be able to share in the near future.

What is the outlook for the real estate industry in Nigeria, and specifically for the retail and commercial property market?

The outlook remains positive. The desire to shop in a formalised retail environment remains in high demand and this is clearly visible in the number of customers who visit our centers across Nigeria, with strong increase year on year.