Tue | Sep 28, 2021

Sagicor X Fund eyeing highway corridor for real estate investment

Published:Friday | July 23, 2021 | 3:27 PM

Sagicor Real Estate X Fund has disinvested from tourism by selling off some sector holdings and has not pulled the trigger on any new investments as yet, but Chairman Christopher Zacca says opportunities along Jamaica’s highway corridors have the company’s attention.

“The area of logistics warehousing, and so on, is a big one for us at X Fund. The industrial belt along the new highway and the Mandela Highway is an area that we’re looking at in terms of logistics expansion and investment,” Zacca told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting held virtually on Friday.

Sagicor Group exited its investment in resort group Playa last year, and X Fund, which held a portion of the group's interest, booked a $233-million loss on the sale. X Fund still owns a Doubletree hotel in Florida and remains invested in the Sigma real estate fund that is also part of the Sagicor Group.

Sagicor X Fund will look primarily to Jamaica, the Caribbean and the United States for investments that provide good returns, he said. The company is interested in real estate for acquisition and new construction, with a preference towards the latter.

“Nothing is off the table but the primary focus of the board and management is to develop; that is to say acquire properties, do the development, and sell at a profit,” Zacca said.

An announcement regarding projects in the pipeline will be made in three months, he said.

Sagicor X Fund CEO Brenda-Lee Martin says the real estate portfolio is now primarily commercial property, the newest addition being Millennium Mall in Clarendon that was officially opened in July, but welcomed its first tenant back in December 2019.

Business for the mall has reportedly been slowed by the pandemic, resulting in a drag on occupancy levels across the fund's portfolio.

"If we remove Millennium Mall from this listing of real estate properties, the occupancy averaged 91 per cent with 63-67 Knutsford Boulevard showing 100 per cent occupancy," she said.

Sagicor X Fund made a loss in the first quarter of 2021, amounting to $203 million, but it was a much better outcome than the $4.474-billion net loss booked in the similar period in 2020.