South African investors like the idea of a local company buying Cape Town's Victoria and Alfred Waterfront back from Dubai World.
Shares in Growthpoint Properties, South Africa's largest publicly listed development company, climbed more than 1 per cent in mid-afternoon trading in Johannesburg yesterday, the day after it confirmed it was involved in negotiations that could affect its share price.
The statement Growthpoint released did not mention the V&A, but many assumed the company was referring to the popular tourist attraction when it said it "recently entered into negotiations which, if successfully concluded, may have an impact on the price of Growthpoint's linked units". On Saturday, a source at Dubai World confirmed that Istithmar World, which has a 37.5 per cent stake in the development, had been in talks with companies including Growthpoint to sell the shopping and leisure attraction.
Dubai World is Istithmar's parent company.
Reports from South Africa last week stated that Growthpoint had entered a deal with other investors, including the banking group Absa, to buy the development.
But Absa said it was not involved in any deal to buy the V&A. However, Public Investment Corporation is reported to be interested.
Istithmar bought the stake in a US$1 billion joint venture with London & Regional Properties, based in the UK, four years ago.
The V&A is considered to be one of South Africa's most valuable pieces of property.
The source said the site could be worth up to 10 billion rand, but that Istithmar would not sell unless it got a fair price.
Istithmar is trying to maximise the value of its assets, following the restructuring of almost US$25bn of debt.
Analysts agreed this was likely to be an investment that Dubai World would strive to hold on to, unless offered a very attractive price. They said that prime South African property was likely to go up in value.
Growthpoint owns more than 400 properties there comprising retail, office and industrial space, and a small portfolio in Australia.