UNIBAIL-RODAMCO-WESTFIELD, THE PREMIER GLOBAL DEVELOPER AND OPERATOR OF FLAGSHIP DESTINATIONS, REPORTS H1-2020 EARNINGS

Wednesday, 29. July 2020 17:45

Paris, Amsterdam, July 29, 2020

Press release

UNIBAIL-RODAMCO-WESTFIELD, THE PREMIER GLOBAL DEVELOPER AND OPERATOR OF FLAGSHIP DESTINATIONS, REPORTS H1-2020 EARNINGS

Adjusted Recurring Earnings per Stapled Share (“AREPS”) of €4.65

  • Encouraging footfall recovery; regions open 11 to 12 weeks generally at 80 – 90% of LY
  • Tenant sales: impacted less than footfall in June, thanks to higher conversion and average baskets
  • Tenant negotiations: approximately a quarter of the way through the process
  • Collection rates: 94% in Q1; 67% for H1-2020 overall
  • Liquidity: €12.7 Bn of cash and undrawn lines
  • Disposals: completed €2.0 Bn (at 100%) transaction for five French retail assets
  • Average cost of debt: 1.7%; average debt maturity extended to a record 8.5 years
  • Like-for-like portfolio revaluation: -5.1%
  • EPRA Net Reinstatement Value (“EPRA NRV”): €197.00/stapled share
  • Development pipeline scaled back to €6.2 Bn (-€2.1 Bn vs. Dec. 31, 2019)
  • LTV: 41.5%, leaving ample headroom to covenants

“The first half of 2020 marked an unprecedented time that has impacted URW, as it has everyone. URW was forced to substantially close most of its shopping centres starting in March for, on average, 67 days. During this period, the Group took steps to support the communities in which it operates and prepare for a safe reopening in line with the best health and safety guidelines. After the reopening, the footfall and sales have been recovering better than anticipated. This shows our centres continue to be attractive destinations for people to visit and will see further increases in activity as life returns to normal. During the crisis, URW successfully focused on preserving liquidity, by raising funds on the debt markets, deferring non-essential CAPEX, reducing the pipeline, cancelling the final dividend and implementing cost savings. The Group now has a record €12.7 Bn of cash and undrawn credit facilities available. Despite the adverse conditions, the Group successfully closed the disposal of a 54.2% stake in a portfolio of five French centres. URW is committed to de-leveraging, and reiterates its plans to dispose the remaining €4 Bn of its asset disposal programme over the next couple of years. These accomplishments during such a difficult period prove the resilience of URW and the extraordinary work of our teams, to which I extend my admiration and gratitude.”
Christophe Cuvillier, Group Chief Executive Officer

 

 H1-2020H1-2019GrowthLike-for-like growth(1)
Net Rental Income (in € Mn)1,0651,254-15.1%-14.2%
  Shopping Centres1,0081,137-11.4%-11.3%
  France310330-6.0%-2.7%
  Central Europe 111113-1.7%-1.7%
  Spain7377-4.3%-2.1%
  Nordics 5566-16.6%-13.0%
  Austria3956-29.5%-27.5%
  Germany6570-7.1%-9.4%
  The Netherlands2628-5.8%-9.7%
  United States 277319-13.2%-15.3%
  United Kingdom 5078-35.9%-34.1%
  Offices & Others4262-32.1%+0.4%
  Convention & Exhibition1556-73.2%-73.2%
     
Recurring net result (in € Mn)667916-27.2% 
Recurring EPS (in €)4.826.63-27.2% 
Adjusted Recurring EPS (in €)4.656.45-28.0% 
     
 June 30, 2020Dec. 31, 2019GrowthLike-for-like growth
Proportionate portfolio valuation (in € Mn)60,35065,341-7.6%-5.1%
EPRA Net Reinstatement Value (in € per stapled share)197.00228.80-13.9% 
EPRA Net Tangible Assets (in € per stapled share)153.90177.60-13.3% 
EPRA Net Disposal Value (in € per stapled share)145.50159.50-8.8% 

Figures may not add up due to rounding

H1-2020 AREPS OF €4.65

Reported AREPS amounted to €4.65, down -28.0% from H1-2019, a decrease of -€1.80, split as follows:

  • -€0.16 due to disposals made in 2019 and 2020;
  • -€0.22 as a result of ending the capitalisation of letting fees;
  • -€1.45 due to the impact of COVID-19 on operations and financing, of which:
    • -€0.11 due to rent relief;
    • -€0.57 due to increased doubtful debtors;
    • -€0.25 due to lower variable revenue streams (e.g. Sales Based Rent (“SBR”), parking, and Commercial Partnerships);
    • -€0.21 due to lower net services income;
    • -€0.24 reduction in net income from the Convention & Exhibition business; and
    • -€0.07 increase in financial expenses due to liquidity measures taken in response to the crisis.
  • +€0.03 of all other items.

OPERATING PERFORMANCE

Shopping Centres
In mid-March, almost all URW centres were forced to close (excluding select essential retailers, and The Netherlands and Sweden, where more limited restrictions applied). On average, the centres were closed for 67 days(2). Centres in Germany were the first ones to be allowed to reopen, followed by Austria and Poland. Centres in France resumed operations from May 11, except for a prolonged ban on centres over 40,000 sqm in the Paris region and in Lyon, which affected URW more than any other landlord given the Group’s concentration on Flagship assets in these regions. In the US, centres gradually reopened from May 15 in Florida. Stores in enclosed parts of centres in California were ordered to close again from July 13, with curbside pick-up permitted, while Westfield World Trade Center still hasn’t been allowed to reopen. These developments show that the risk of the pandemic has not fully subsided.

As at June 30, 2020, 97% of the stores within URW’s European centres were open, 1% were still restricted from trading, while the remainder mainly relates to delayed reopening of tenants in the UK. In the US, 77% of stores and 86% of GLA had reopened as at June 30.

Footfall in the European centres has shown an encouraging recovery so far. In regions that reopened 11 to 12 weeks ago, footfall is generally trending at 80 – 90% of the same period in 2019. In France and Spain, where most of the Group’s shopping centres reopened later, the Group sees a similar pattern. In the UK, the lockdown only ended on June 15. With restrictions still in place for leisure operators, and people strongly encouraged not to return to offices or take public transport until at least late July, footfall is now approaching 50% of 2019.

Tenant sales(3) through February 2020 had performed well and were up by +2.2% for the Group(4). In centres in Continental Europe that were open the entire month of June(5), tenant sales for the month recovered to more than 80% of the same period in 2019. Excluding F&B and entertainment, as well as fashion categories(6), which are impacted particularly in France due to the postponement of summer sales from June 24 to July 15, tenant sales came to almost 92% of June last year. Sales are less impacted than footfall due to higher conversion rates and average baskets. Best performing categories were home (+5.6%), culture/media and technology (+1.7%), food stores (-0.1%), jewellery (-7.7%) and gifts (-8.3%). Considering the centre closures, the sales data from March to May, and hence for H1-2020 overall, is not meaningful.

The rent collection for the shopping centre division in H1 came to 67% (94% for Q1, 38% for Q2). 3% of the Q2 rents have been forgiven through rent relief, 20% has been deferred, either by agreement or by application of law, and 39% is overdue and to be recovered. As at July 24, collection for July stood at 50%. The Group expects an improvement following completion of ongoing tenant negotiations regarding COVID-19 assistance.

Such negotiations are conducted on a case by case basis on the principle of a fair sharing of the burden, and include a request for concessions from tenants (i.e., extension of the firm period of the lease, increase of the SBR percentage, waiver of co-tenancy provisions in the US, new landlord break-options or signature of leases for new stores). The Group estimates it is approximately a quarter of the way through this process, which only started at the end of the lockdown in the applicable regions.

Lfl shopping centre NRI was down -11.3% for the Group, and -6.7% in Continental Europe, mainly driven by the impact of COVID-19. This impact included higher doubtful debtors, lower parking revenue, SBR and Commercial Partnerships income, and, to a lesser extent, rent relief provided to tenants. Rent relief amounted to €32.6 Mn in Europe, which had an accounting impact of only €15.6 Mn in H1-2020 due to the application of IFRS 16, which usually requires rent relief to be recognised on a straight-line basis over the remaining fixed term of the lease.

Leasing activity was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with 661 leases signed Group-wide, down -44% compared to H1-2019. Despite this, Spain (+29.0%), France (+15.4%) and Central Europe (+14.1%) showed a strong MGR uplift, with +5.5% overall in Continental Europe.

Despite an elevated level of tenant bankruptcies, vacancy increased by only +140 bps for the Group to 6.8%. In Continental Europe, vacancy came to 3.9% (2.5% as at December 31, 2019).

Offices & Others

The impact of the disposal of Majunga and the Lyon Confluence hotel, as well as the transfer of Michelet-Galilée, Village 5 and the San Francisco Centre offices to the pipeline, was only partly offset by the delivery of Shift, Versailles Chantiers and Palisade at Westfield UTC. Lfl NRI was up +0.4%, while total NRI was down by -32.1%.

Convention & Exhibition

Recurring NOI was down -71.0% compared to 2018 (restated for the triennial INTERMAT show). 125 events had been held prior to activities being ordered to stop on March 9. As at July 29, 191 events scheduled to take place in 2020 have been cancelled and 95 postponed, of which 26 to 2021. Activities will resume on September 1.

FUTURE OF RETAIL AND URW’S CSR STRATEGY

Although it is naturally much too early to draw definitive conclusions, there was a significant uptick in e-commerce penetration during the lockdown, as well as in local shopping. Nevertheless, in many markets, brick & mortar sales are now returning to more normal levels, although with some differences between categories. As online only brands still struggle with profitability despite the increase in turnover during COVID-19, omni-channel retailers remain eager to reopen stores and open new ones, albeit on a selective basis, as these are essential to their strategy. URW is fully embracing the retail digitalisation and has rolled-out a number of initiatives, like smart parking, Line Pass, curbside pick-up, food delivery and a partnership with Zalando, to enhance customers’ digital experience and enrich its tenants omni-channel capabilities.         

The current crisis has also accelerated changes in consumer behavior like more local and carbon conscious shopping, for which URW has been preparing through its ambitious Better Places 2030 CSR strategy. URW’s leadership is widely recognized, illustrated by the prime “B” ISS ESG rating received in the period.

DEVELOPMENT PIPELINE FURTHER REDUCED

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, URW deferred from 2020 €500 Mn of development and operating CAPEX. URW also removed an additional €1.6 Bn of projects from the pipeline in H1-2020, displaying the flexibility of its pipeline to respond to changing conditions. The Total Investment Cost (TIC)(7) of URW’s development pipeline now stands at €6.2 Bn, down from €8.3 Bn as at December 31, 2019 and from €10.3 Bn as at June 30, 2019.

The Group retains significant flexibility, with committed projects of only €3.6 Bn, of which €2.0 Bn has already been invested. The Group plans to deliver in H2-2020 five projects, with a TIC of approximately €830 Mn, including the La Part-Dieu extension and the Trinity office building. The opening of Westfield Mall of the Netherlands was postponed to early 2021. The Group delivered the €0.5 Bn (Group share) expansion of Westfield Valley Fair.

CLEAR FOCUS ON COSTS

URW reduced general expenses through partial employment and furlough schemes. As the development pipeline was scaled back, an adjustment of the corresponding staff was made. In a very difficult business environment, the Group also further reduced headcount through its “Agility programme” in the US and the UK. Non-staff costs were cut as well. Collectively, these steps are expected to save about €40 Mn in gross admin expenses in 2020, and €60 Mn on an annualised basis.

VALUATION

The Gross Market Value (GMV) of the Group’s assets as at June 30, 2020, decreased by -7.6% to €60.4 Bn on a proportionate basis, including a like-for-like portfolio revaluation of -€2,768 Mn (-5.1%), a non-LFL revaluation of -€658 Mn, and the impact of disposals. The Shopping Centre GMV was €51.8 Bn, down -5.2% on a like-for-like basis. The average Net Initial Yield (“NIY”) of the retail portfolio widened by 8bps to 4.4%. On a like-for-like basis, the GMV of the Convention & Exhibition and services business, both significantly impacted by COVID-19, were down by -4.8% and -9.0%, respectively. The valuation of Offices & Others was broadly stable on a like-for-like basis (+0.2%).

The EPRA NRV per stapled share came to €197.00 as at June 30, 2020. Adjusted for the impact of the -€0.53 mark-to-market of financial assets and the -€5.40 dividend paid in 2020, the EPRA NRV was down by -€25.87 (-11.6%) compared to December 31, 2019.

DISPOSALS

On May 29, 2020, the Group successfully closed, as scheduled, the disposal of a portfolio of five French shopping centres, with a price at 100% of €2.0 Bn and Net Disposal Proceeds for URW of €1.5 Bn, to the entity formed by Crédit Agricole Assurances and La Française (54.2%), and URW (45.8%).

The Group remains committed to reduce leverage, and aims to dispose the remaining €4 Bn of its asset disposal programme over the next couple of years, of which about 50% will be retail.

STRONG LIQUIDITY POSITION WITH RECORD DEBT MATURITY

Following the Group’s prudent capital management, cash and undrawn available credit lines amounted to a record €12.7 Bn as at June 30, 2020. URW accessed the debt markets in April and June, issuing a total of €2.2 Bn of Euro senior bonds with an average coupon of 2.27% and an average maturity of 9.3 years. This extended the Group’s average debt maturity to a record 8.5 years.

The average cost of debt for the Group increased slightly to 1.7%, representing a blended 1.1% for EUR(8) debt and 3.6% for USD and GBP debt. The Loan-to-Value (LTV) ratio stood at 41.5%, with the interest coverage ratio (“ICR”) at 4.2x. The LTV and ICR levels show ample headroom compared to the covenants of the European corporate credit facilities, which are the strictest corporate debt covenants of the Group, with a maximum LTV of 60% and minimum ICR of 2x.

2020 OUTLOOK

URW believes the uncertainty regarding the duration and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its operations and financial results remains material and that it is too early to provide new guidance on the outlook for 2020. The Group reiterates its intention to provide an update of its guidance when it can reliably estimate the duration, severity and consequences of the current situation.

FINANCIAL SCHEDULE

The next financial events on the Group’s calendar will be:
October 28, 2020: 2020 Q3 results (after market close)
February 10, 2021: 2020 Full-Year results
May 12, 2021: AGM Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield SE

 

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. Weighted average based on FY-2019 NRI.
  3. 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 H1-2020 reporting period, shopping centres excluded due to delivery or ongoing works were Les Ateliers Gaité, La Part-Dieu, CH Ursynow, Garbera, Westfield Valley Fair and Gropius Passagen. Primark sales are based on estimates. Tenant sales data include shopping centres accounted for using the equity method, but not Zlote Tarasy as it is not managed by URW.
  4. Total tenant sales excluding Tesla.
  5. Excludes Westfield Forum des Halles, Carrousel du Louvre and Westfield Les 4 Temps in France; Parquesur, La Vaguada, La Maquinista, Glòries, Splau and Equinoccio in Spain.
  6. Including fashion, bags & footwear & accessories, and department stores.
  7. 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.
  8. Including SEK.

 

About Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield is the premier global developer and operator of Flagship destinations, with a portfolio valued at €60.4 Bn as at June 30, 2020, of which 86% in retail, 7% in offices, 5% in convention & exhibition venues and 2% in services. Currently, the Group owns and operates 89 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 two 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 3,400 professionals and an unparalleled track-record and know-how, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield is ideally positioned to generate superior value and develop world-class projects. As at June 30, 2020, the Group had a development pipeline of €6.2 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 A3 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

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