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UNIBAIL-RODAMCO-WESTFIELD, THE PREMIER GLOBAL DEVELOPER AND OPERATOR OF FLAGSHIP DESTINATIONS, EXCEEDS GUIDANCE FOR FY-2019

/EIN News/ -- Paris, Amsterdam, February 12, 2020

Press release

UNIBAIL-RODAMCO-WESTFIELD, THE PREMIER GLOBAL DEVELOPER AND OPERATOR OF FLAGSHIP DESTINATIONS, EXCEEDS GUIDANCE FOR FY-2019

Adjusted Recurring Earnings per Stapled Share (“AREPS”) of €12.37 exceed guidance of €12.10 - €12.30

  • Very strong Group tenant sales growth through December 31, of +3.7%, of which +4.7% in Europe and +1.6% in the US
  • Net Rental Income (NRI) like-for-like (Lfl)(1) growth: +3.1% in Shopping Centres in Continental Europe and -4.2% in the UK; comparable Net Operating Income (NOI)(2) of +2.4% (+5.4% in Flagships) in the US
  • Continental European rental uplift: +12.0% (+13.9% in Flagships)
  • Average cost of debt: 1.6%;  average debt maturity extended to a record 8.2 years
  • EPRA NAV: €213.30/stapled share
  • Development pipeline scaled back to €8.3 Bn
  • Disposals: €2.8 Bn agreed or closed, bringing total disposals proceeds since June 7, 2018, to €4.8 Bn
  • LTV: 38.6% (37.2% pro-forma for the disposal of five French assets)(3)
  • Dividend proposed: €10.80 per stapled share
  • 2020 AREPS Outlook: reflecting solid underlying growth in a challenging market, offset by the impact of disposals completed in 2019 and those to be completed in 2020 (around 50 cents per share), AREPS expected to be in the range of €11.90 - €12.10.    

“The retail environment remains challenging, but URW’s high quality portfolio saw a very strong +3.7% growth in Group tenant sales. This, with the exceptional work of our teams, drove LfL NRI growth of +3.1% in Continental Europe, and comparable NOI up by +5.4% in our US Flagships. Adjusted recurring EPS at €12.37 exceeded the 2019 guidance increased in July. The Group remains soundly positioned for the future. We will continue the execution of our strategy of concentration, differentiation and innovation and a disciplined approach to the allocation of capital and deleveraging. With the announcement made today of the disposal of a 54.2% stake in a portfolio of five French centres, we have now agreed disposals of €4.8 Bn since June 2018 (80% of our €6 Bn target) and have scaled back our development pipeline to €8.3 Bn while maintaining its potential for value creation. The integration of Westfield is running according to plan, having already achieved €99 Mn of cost and revenue synergies, and we have extended to the UK and the US our widely recognised and industry leading CSR strategy, Better Places 2030. AREPS will continue to be impacted in the near term by the disposal of assets, but our 5-year Business Plan implies underlying operational growth of +3% to +5%. This underpins our minimum €10.80 dividend per stapled share going forward.”
Christophe Cuvillier, Group Chief Executive Officer


  FY-2019 FY-2018 Growth Like-for-like growth
Net Rental Income (in € Mn) 2,491 2,161 +15.3% +3.0%
  Shopping Centres 2,293 1,912 +19.9% +3.1%
  France 663 647 +2.5% +2.8%
  Central Europe 223 212 +5.4% +4.0%
  Spain 157 155 +0.8% +10.5%
  Nordics 123 141 -13.3% -2.6%
  Austria 111 108 +3.5% +2.5%
  Germany 143 140 +2.8% +0.0%
  The Netherlands 62 59 +5.8% +10.7%
  United States 653 351 n.m. n.a.
  United Kingdom 157 99 n.m. n.a.
  Offices & others 103 149 -30.9% -1.2%
  Convention & Exhibition 95 100 -4.7% +3.4%
         
Recurring net result (in € Mn) 1,760 1,610 +9.3%  
Recurring EPS (in €) 12.72 13.15 -3.3%  
Adjusted Recurring EPS (in €) 12.37 12.92 -4.3%  
         
  Dec. 31, 2019 Dec. 31, 2018 Growth Like-for-like growth
Proportionate portfolio valuation (in € Mn) 65,341 65,201 +0.2% -1.8%
Going Concern Net Asset Value (in € per stapled share) 217.50 233.90 -7.0%  
EPRA Net Asset Value (in € per stapled share) 213.30 221.80 -3.8%  
EPRA Triple Net Asset Value (in € per stapled share) 199.20 210.80 -5.5%  

Figures may not add up due to rounding


FY-2019 AREPS OF €12.37

Reported AREPS was €12.37 vs. the guidance of €11.80 to €12.00 for 2019, increased to €12.10 to €12.30 at half-year. The 2019 result reflects the full-year effect of the Westfield transaction and the impact of the disposals completed in 2018 and 2019 (€3.3 Bn), which was partially offset by the Group’s solid operating performance and the implementation of IFRS 16.

RESILIENT OPERATING PERFORMANCE

Shopping Centres - Continental Europe
Footfall in the Group’s centres through December was up by +2.6%, and by +3.0% for Flagships. In France, footfall was up by +4.6% (+431 bps vs. the CNCC index), despite the impact of the public transport strikes of December 2019 in the Paris region.

Through November 30, tenant sales increased(4) by +5.2%, and by +5.5% for Flagships,(5) outperforming national sales indices(6) by +304 bps and +340 bps, respectively. In France, tenant sales increased by +5.4%, outperforming the IFLS index by +379 bps and the CNCC index by +459 bps. Germany also did especially well ( +4.4%), outperforming the national sales index by +86 bps. The Nordics, up by +14.1%, was boosted by the outstanding performance of Tesla in its two stores in URW’s Stockholm centres. Excluding Tesla, the Group’s Continental European tenant sales through November 30 increased by +3.3%.

Lfl NRI grew by +3.1%, +150 bps above indexation. The Group signed 1,367 leases with a Minimum Guaranteed Rent (MGR) uplift of +12.0% (+13.9% for Flagships). The rotation rate amounted to 10.6% in line with URW’s objective of 10%. The EPRA vacancy remains limited at 2.5% and down from 2.8% as at June 30, 2019.

United Kingdom
Footfall through December 31 was up by +2.8%, outperforming the UK shopping centre index by +530 bps. Tenant sales through December 31 increased by +4.7%, and through November 30 by +5.3%, outperforming the national sales index by +550 bps. MGR uplift was solid at +11.1%. EPRA vacancy stood at 7.7%, down from 8.7% as at June 30, 2019.

United States
Tenant sales(7) increased by +1.7% through November 30, of which +3.3% in Flagships, compared to the national sales index of +3.7%(8) (which includes e-commerce sales). Growth was +1.6% through December 31. Speciality sales productivity per square foot (psf)(9) increased by +5.1%. Average letting spreads for Flagships were +4.7%. As at December 31, 2019, occupancy stood at 94.8% (96.2% in Flagships), up +140 bps vs. June 30, 2019. Lease commitments of vacant spaces as at December 31, 2019, amounted to 1.4% of GLA. Comparable NOI increased by +2.4% (+5.4% for Flagships), improving from -1.6% and -0.3%, respectively, in 2018.

Offices & Others
The offices & others division sold Majunga on very attractive terms and delivered Versailles Chantiers and Shift. Lfl NRI decreased by -1.2%, of which -1.5% in France, mainly due to the negative impact of a renewal.

Convention & Exhibition
Recurring NOI was up by +11.4% compared to 2017, and  flat compared to 2018 when excluding the impact of the triennial INTERMAT show held in that year. The new Pavilion 6 and the Novotel and Mama Shelter hotels at Porte de Versailles were delivered.

ACCELERATING OUR CSR STRATEGY

URW’s CSR strategy, Better Places 2030, was extended to the new regions of the Group (the UK and US). The Group's ambitious goal of reducing carbon emissions by -50% across URW’s value chain in Europe and the US by 2030 was reaffirmed. Better Places 2030 now also tackles new challenges like responsible consumption, circular economy, biodiversity and community resilience. URW’s CSR strategy is widely recognized, illustrated by the prime ISS ESG rating, CDP’s A list and the retail real estate sector leader award of GRESB.

€99 MN OF COST AND REVENUE SYNERGIES CAPTURED

By December 31, 2019, the Group had captured €99.0 Mn of its target of €100 Mn of run-rate synergies, including €87.9 Mn of cost synergies, as well as the first €11.1 Mn of revenue synergies (target of €40 Mn by 2023), through its Commercial Partnerships and International Leasing operations. Commercial Partnership revenues in Continental Europe grew by +11.2% to €32.7 Mn.

OPTIMIZING DEVELOPMENT CAPITAL AND RETURNS

The URW Total Investment Cost(10) of its development pipeline amounted to €8.3 Bn, down from €11.9 Bn as at year-end 2018. The Group initiated a full review of its pipeline and removed €3.2 Bn of projects that require major redefinition, are significantly postponed due to market or administrative circumstances, or no longer meet the Group’s return requirements. The Group retains significant flexibility, with committed projects of only €2.7 Bn, of which €1.7 Bn already invested. The pipeline GLA is moving towards more mixed use projects, split between retail (43%), dining & leisure (17%), offices (21%), residential (11%), and hotels (8%). €0.6 Bn of projects were delivered in 2019, including the Westfield Vélizy 2 leisure extension, the Westfield Parly 2 Cinema, Palisade at Westfield UTC and the Westfield Oakridge transformation. The Group plans to deliver €2 Bn of projects in 2020, including the extensions of Westfield Valley Fair and La Part-Dieu and the Westfield Mall of the Netherlands redevelopment.

NAV EVOLUTION

The Gross Market Value (GMV) of the Group’s assets as at December 31, 2019, amounted to €65.3 Bn on a proportionate basis (€65.2 Bn as at December 31, 2018). The Shopping Centre GMV was €56.5 Bn, down -2.0% on a like-for-like basis   (-1.0% for Flagships). The average net initial yield (“NIY”) of the retail portfolio remained stable at 4.3%. The Offices & Others GMV came to €4.2 Bn, up by +6.2% on a like-for-like basis.

Going Concern NAV per stapled share came to €217.50 as at December 31, 2019. Adjusted for the impact of the -€10.15 mark-to-market of the fixed-rate debt and derivatives and the -€10.80 dividend paid in 2019, Going Concern NAV was up +€4.55 (+2.1%) compared to December 31, 2018.

SUCCESSFUL DISPOSALS TO DATE

Since June 7, 2018, the Group has disposed of €3.3 Bn of office and retail assets at an aggregate NIY of 4.2% and 5.5%, and a 6.2% and 7.7% premium to the last book values, respectively. On February 12, 2020, the Group reached an agreement to dispose of a 54.2% stake in five French shopping centres, with an offer price at 100% of €2.0 Bn, in line with the last unaffected book value as at December 31, 2018, and reflecting a 4.8% NIY. Net Disposal Proceeds for URW are expected to be €1.5 Bn. This amount will increase as other investors join the Consortium. More details can be found in the press release of February 12, 2020. Upon closing of this transaction, the Group will have completed €4.8 Bn (80%) of its €6 Bn disposal target.
A number of discussions are on-going for further disposals.  

AVERAGE COST OF DEBT OF 1.6% AND AVERAGE MATURITY OF 8.2 YEARS

The average cost of debt for the Group was stable at 1.6%, representing a blended 0.9% for EUR(11) debt, an all-time low, and 3.4% for USD and GBP debt. The average debt maturity came to a record 8.2 years. In June 2019, URW was the first REIT ever to issue 30-year notes on the Euro bond market (€500 Mn). The Loan-to-Value (LTV) ratio stood at 38.6% (37.2% pro-forma for the disposal of the portfolio of five French shopping centres). The interest coverage ratio was 5.7x. Undrawn available credit lines amounted to a record €9.2 Bn.

OUTLOOK AND GUIDANCE

The €1.3 Bn of disposals closed in 2019 and those expected to close in 2020 will further increase the average portfolio quality and reduce leverage. These disposals will, of course, have an impact on the Group’s AREPS in 2020 and 2021.

As a result of the solid underlying operating income growth expected despite the challenging retail environment, the €2 Bn of deliveries in 2020 and the secured cost of debt, offset by the estimated impact of the disposals (around 50 cents per share), the 2020 AREPS is expected to be in the range of €11.90 - €12.10.

The substantial disposals made and planned by URW are a critical part of its strategy of concentration, differentiation and innovation, active asset rotation and deleveraging. However, they mask the underlying trends, which reflect on-going operational growth, delivery of development projects (albeit fewer than in the Group’s previous business plan), and a well managed cost of debt. The output of the 2020-2024 business plan, reflects an underlying compound annual growth rate of the AREPS, i.e., excluding the impact of the disposals in the plan, of between +3% to +5%.

This outlook is derived from the annual business plan process for URW’s operations. This exercise results in annual growth rates which vary from year to year. Variations in the key assumptions (indexation, rental uplifts, disposals, timely delivery of projects, cost of debt, FX and tax) will also cause growth rates to vary from one plan to the next.

DIVIDEND

The Group will propose a cash dividend of €10.80 per stapled share for fiscal year 2019, subject to approval by the Annual General Meetings of Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield SE and WFD Unibail-Rodamco N.V. (the AGMs). The total amount of dividends paid with respect to 2019 would be €1,494.5 Mn for the 138,378,605 stapled shares outstanding as at December 31, 2019. This represents an 87% pay-out ratio of the adjusted net recurring result of the Group.

The planned payment schedule is:

  • An interim dividend of €5.40 per stapled share on March 26, 2020 (ex-dividend date March 24, 2020); and
  • A final dividend of €5.40 per stapled share, subject to approval of the AGMs, on July 6, 2020 (ex-dividend date July 2, 2020).

Based on the outputs of its 2020-2024 business plan exercise, the Group currently expects to maintain its dividend for 2020 and 2021 at a minimum of €10.80 per share and grow it broadly in line with the growth in AREPS thereafter.

FINANCIAL SCHEDULE

The next financial events on the Group’s calendar will be:
March 26, 2020: payment interim dividend
April 29, 2020: 2020 1st quarter results (after market close)
May 15, 2020: AGM Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield SE
July 6, 2020: payment final dividend, subject to approval of the AGMs
July 29, 2020: 2020 Half-Year results


For further information, please contact:

Investor Relations 
Samuel Warwood
Maarten Otte 
+33 1 76 77 58 02 
Maarten.Otte@urw.com

Media Relations 
Tiphaine Bannelier-Sudérie
+33 1 76 77 57 94
Tiphaine.Bannelier-Suderie@urw.com


  1. Like-for-like NRI: Net Rental Income excluding acquisitions, divestments, transfers to and from pipeline (extensions, brownfields or redevelopment of an asset when operations are stopped to enable works), all other changes resulting in any change to square metres and currency exchange rate differences in the periods analysed.
  2. Comparable NOI is based on Net Operating Income before management fees, termination/settlement income and straight-line adjustments, and excluding one-offs. For comparability, recent project deliveries or centres undergoing significant development works are excluded.
  3. Announced on February 12, 2020.
  4. Tenant sales performance in URW’s shopping centres (except The Netherlands) in operation, including extensions of existing assets, but excluding deliveries of new brownfield projects, newly acquired assets and assets under heavy refurbishment. For the 2019 reporting period, shopping centres excluded due to delivery or ongoing works were Les Ateliers Gaité, La Part-Dieu, CH Ursynow, Garbera and Gropius Passagen. Primark sales are based on estimates. Les Boutiques du Palais is now included in the Convention & Exhibition (“C&E”) segment. Tenant sales data include shopping centres accounted for using the equity method (Westfield Rosny 2, CentrO, Paunsdorf and Metropole Zlicin), but not Zlote Tarasy as it is not managed by URW.
  5. Continental European Flagship assets are: Westfield Les 4 Temps, Aéroville, Westfield Parly 2, Westfield Vélizy 2, Westfield Carré Sénart, Westfield Rosny 2, Westfield Forum des Halles, Carrousel du Louvre, CNIT, Confluence, La Part-Dieu, Villeneuve 2, Westfield Euralille, Polygone Riviera, La Vaguada, Parquesur, Bonaire, Splau, La Maquinista, Glòries, Donau Zentrum, Shopping City Süd, Centrum Cerny Most, Westfield Chodov, Wroclavia, Galeria Mokotow, Zlote Tarasy, Westfield Arkadia, Aupark, Fisketorvet, Westfield Mall of Scandinavia, Täby Centrum, Stadshart Amstelveen, Westfield Mall of the Netherlands, Ruhr Park, Gropius Passagen, CentrO and Pasing Arcaden.
  6. Based on latest national indices available (year-on-year evolution) as at November 2019: France: Institut Français du Libre Service (IFLS)-excluding food; Spain: Instituto Nacional de Estadistica; Central Europe: Česky statisticky urad (Czech Republic), Polska Rada Centrow Handlowych (Poland), Eurostat (Slovakia); Austria: KMU Forschung; the Nordics: HUI Research (Sweden), Danmarks Statistik (Denmark); Germany: Destatis-Genesis, excluding online only operators and fuel sales (Federal Statistical Office). Including online only sales for France, Spain, the Czech Republic and Slovakia and excluding online only sales for Germany, the Nordics, Austria and Poland.
  7. Total tenant sales excluding department stores and Tesla.
  8. US Census Bureau November 2019 Advance Monthly Retail Sales, excludes gas.
  9. Calculated on the basis of sales psf for specialty tenants, being stores with <10K sq. ft (ca. 929 sqm), excl. Tesla. For centres in operation and excluding new brownfield deliveries, acquired assets and assets under heavy refurbishment (in line with the URW’s European methodology).
  10. URW Total Investment Cost (TIC) equals 100% TIC multiplied by URW percentage of ownership of the project, plus specific own costs, if any. 100% TIC is expressed in value at completion. It equals the sum of: (i) all capital expenditures from the start of the project to the completion date and includes: land costs, construction costs, study costs, design costs, technical fees, tenant fitting-out costs paid for by the Group, letting fees and related costs, eviction costs and vacancy costs for renovations or redevelopments of standing assets; and (ii) tenants’ lease incentives and opening marketing expenses. It excludes: (i) capitalized financial interests; (ii) overheads costs; (iii) early or lost Net Rental Income; and (iv) IFRS adjustments.
  11. Including SEK


About Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield is the premier global developer and operator of Flagship destinations, with a portfolio valued at €65.3 Bn as at December 31, 2019, of which 86% in retail, 6% in offices, 5% in convention & exhibition venues and 3% in services. Currently, the Group owns and operates 90 shopping centres, including 55 Flagships in the most dynamic cities in Europe and the United States. Its centres welcome 1.2 billion visits per year. Present on 2 continents and in 12 countries, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield provides a unique platform for retailers and brand events, and offers an exceptional and constantly renewed experience for customers.
With the support of its 3,600 professionals and an unparalleled track-record and know-how, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield is ideally positioned to generate superior value and develop world-class projects. The Group has a development pipeline of €8.3 Bn.
Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield distinguishes itself by its Better Places 2030 agenda, that sets its ambition to create better places that respect the highest environmental standards and contribute to better cities.
Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield stapled shares are listed on Euronext Amsterdam and Euronext Paris (Euronext ticker: URW), with a secondary listing in Australia through Chess Depositary Interests. The Group benefits from an A rating from Standard & Poor’s and from an A2 rating from Moody’s.

For more information, please visit www.urw.com
Visit our Media Library at https://mediacentre.urw.com
Follow the Group updates on Twitter @urw_group, Linkedin @Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield and Instagram @urw_group
Access the URW 2018 report at https://report.urw.com/2018/

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