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PIC Aims to Buy Cape Town’s V&A; Growthpoint in Talks

Dec. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Public Investment Corp., which manages South African state pensions, is in talks to buy the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town, which was sold to Istithmar World PJSC four years ago for $1 billion.

“We have not secured a transaction,” Wayne van der Vent, the general manager of real-estate investment for the Pretoria-based PIC, said in a mobile-phone interview today. “We have always been involved in the V&A Waterfront discussions since day one, four years ago. We have never left those negotiations.”

Istithmar World in 2006 teamed up with London & Regional Properties and a group of local investors to buy South Africa’s most popular retail center in the country’s biggest property transaction. The PIC, Growthpoint Properties Ltd. and Absa Group Ltd. have together signed an agreement to buy the V&A for 10 billion rand ($1.5 billion), Johannesburg-based newspaper Mail & Guardian newspaper reported on Dec. 10.

Growthpoint, South Africa’s largest publicly traded real-estate investor, said today it recently started talks that may affect the value of its share price, without giving more details. The company won’t comment beyond the statement, Nadine Kuzmanich, the head of investor relations at the Johannesburg-based company, said. Absa is not involved in any transaction involving the V&A, the lender said in a statement.

Shares of Growthpoint rose as much as 38 cents, or 2.1 percent, to 18.11 rand. The stock closed 1 cent lower, less than 0.1 percent, at 17.72 rand at the 5 p.m. end of trading today.

Growthpoint Chief Executive Officer Norbert Sasse didn’t answer a call seeking comment to his mobile phone, which didn’t give an option to leave a message.

Dubai World, one of the emirate’s three state-owned holding companies, is altering the terms on $24.9 billion of debt as it restructures business after the global credit crisis. Istithmar World is not part of the restructuring.

The V&A, situated in Cape Town’s harbour, is the country’s largest retail and tourism property. The PIC has assets of more than 1 trillion rand.

To contact the reporter on this story: Garth Theunissen in Johannesburg at gtheunissen@bloomberg.net; Sikonathi Mantshantsha in Johannesburg at smantshantsh@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gavin Serkin at gserkin@bloomberg.net

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