UNIBAIL-RODAMCO-WESTFIELD REPORTS FY-2020 EARNINGS

Wednesday, 10. February 2021 17:45

Paris, Amsterdam, February 10, 2021

Press release

UNIBAIL-RODAMCO-WESTFIELD REPORTS FY-2020 EARNINGS

URW’s organisation has demonstrated resilience in extreme operating conditions with positive consumer demand whenever restrictions eased or lifted during 2020

Flagship destinations continue to attract leading brands and emerging players – working together to innovate in a rapidly evolving retail environment

Focused operational plan for 2021 and clear commitment to deleveraging - URW will emerge as a stronger business harnessing the market rebound

FY-2020 in Review

  • Strong start to 2020 but only 70 days of normal operations, most of the year subject to various restrictions and 93 days on average “closed”(1)
  • Like-for-like shopping centre Net Rental Income (“NRI”) down -24%, driven by rent relief and doubtful debtors as URW was heavily impacted due to central locations and F&B exposure
  • Strong rebound whenever centres were open with sales outperforming footfall, larger basket sizes and strong F&B bounce -  Continental Europe Q3-2020: 77% of 2019 footfall; 86% of 2019 sales
  • Partnership approach to support tenants and innovative response to restrictions ensured URW collected 88% of the total amount due for FY-20 (80% of the billed rents);  €401 Mn in total rent relief at 100%
  • Reinforcing trusted partnerships with established leading brands and attracting emerging retail concepts in the innovative Automotive, DNVB and Entertainment sectors; 1,528 new leases signed in 2020 (-36% vs. 2019) with higher activity in H2
  • IFRS LTV at 44.7% (44.0% pro-forma for the proceeds of the SHiFT and Les Villages 3, 4 and 6 disposals)
  • €2.3 Bn of disposals achieved including the sale of the SHiFT and Les Villages 3, 4 and 6 office buildings, and a portfolio of five French shopping centres
  • URW will complete the remainder of the €4.0 Bn of European disposals as well as implement a programme to significantly reduce its financial exposure to the US
  • €11.4 Bn in cash and available credit facilities at year end

Commenting on the results, Jean-Marie Tritant, Chief Executive Officer said:

“2020 has been a year like no other in URW’s history and I want to thank our outstanding teams for showing true resilience. They have worked tirelessly since March last year to help our Group, our tenants and our communities to handle this unprecedented situation. With restrictions in place across almost all of our markets we have realistic expectations for 2021 but are encouraged by the way footfall and sales bounced back strongly whenever restrictions were eased or lifted last year.

There is clear pent-up consumer demand for high quality shopping destinations, and leading and emerging brands are choosing URW locations ahead of a market rebound. The retail landscape is changing and our centres are proving to be attractive for high potential sectors such as innovative automotive, digitally native vertical brands and entertainment.

Operationally, we continue to deliver innovative solutions for tenants and consumers, including the drive @ Westfield online purchase pick up programme, rolled out in all of our US locations and 11 European centres. Mutually beneficial partnerships with our tenants are key, and we have adopted a “burden sharing” principle to negotiations in order to mitigate the impact of the crisis and assist their rebound.

Deleveraging is a key priority and will be achieved through a strict control of CAPEX, cost base and continued disposals. We will complete the remaining €3.2 Bn of the €4 Bn European disposals before the end of 2022. We are implementing a programme to significantly reduce our financial exposure to the US when the investment market reopens which should happen with the US economy rebound in 2022. Our continued access to credit markets and ample liquidity will allow us to complete our deleveraging objectives in an effective and orderly way.  

Taking into account the current operating environment and our commitment to deleveraging, the Group will  suspend the payment of a dividend for its fiscal years 2020, 2021 and 2022. We will resume the payment of a sustainable and growing dividend once the deleveraging programme is completed. Having delivered on our immediate operational and financial priorities, URW will re-emerge as the most attractive retail focused listed real estate company combining strong fundamentals and outstanding growth potential.”

  FY-2020 FY-2019 Change Like-for-like change(2)
Net Rental Income (in € Mn) 1,790 2,491 -28.1% -26.4%
   Shopping Centres 1,699 2,293 -25.9% -24.0%
   Offices & Others 85 103 -16.9% +0.1%
   Convention & Exhibition 6 95 -93.6% -93.6%
         
Recurring net result (in € Mn) 1,057 1,760 -40.0%  
Recurring EPS (in €) 7.63 12.72 -40.0%  
Adjusted Recurring EPS (in €) 7.28 12.37 -41.1%  
         
  Dec. 31, 2020 Dec. 31, 2019 Change Like-for-like change
Proportionate portfolio valuation (in € Mn) 56,314 65,341 -13.8% -11.2%
EPRA Net Reinstatement Value (in € per stapled share) 166.80 228.80 -27.1%  

Figures may not add up due to rounding

FY-2020 AREPS: €7.28

Reported AREPS amounted to €7.28, down -41.1% from 2019, a decrease of -€5.09, split as follows:

  • -€4.57 due to the impact of COVID-19 on operations and financing (i.e. rent relief, doubtful debtors and lower variable revenue streams);
  • -€0.49 due to disposals made in 2019 and 2020;
  • -€0.42 as a result of ending the capitalisation of letting fees; and
  • Partially offset by +€0.39 of other items(3).

OPERATING PERFORMANCE

Shopping Centres
During the majority of 2020, governments implemented severe restrictions following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in an unprecedented interruption to operations in FY-20 with only ca. 70 normal trading days and 93 days with the centres effectively closed(1).

The Group’s tenant sales(4) for the year overall came to 63% of 2019, or 66% excluding F&B and Entertainment. The best performing category in Europe was Food stores and Mass Merchandise (97% of 2019). Most impacted sectors were Entertainment (-68%) and Food & Beverage Services (-43%).

After reopening of the shopping centres closed in Q2, footfall in Continental Europe in Q3 (the least disrupted period) reached 77% of 2019 levels, with tenant sales outperforming at 86% of 2019 levels, driven by higher basket size as customers came to shop.

URW collected 80% of billed rents(5) in FY-2020 overall, with the remainder primarily either provided as part of the rent relief or provisioned. The rent collection improved after reopening to 85% in Q3, while Q2 at 61% and Q4 at 76% were impacted by lockdowns and other restrictions. Adjusted for the rent relief granted, the collection rate came to 88% of the total amount due(6), with Continental Europe at 94%, reflecting the progress in tenant negotiations and the efforts of URW’s teams.

Over 2020, the rent relief granted at the asset level amounts to €401 Mn, which translates into €313 Mn for URW on a proportionate basis, of which €246 Mn has been charged to the 2020 income statement. These negotiations are typically not about permanently changing lease structures or changing the basis for rent calculations (e.g., replacing Minimum Guaranteed Rent with Sales Based Rent only leases), but rather focus on providing appropriate rent relief to achieve a fair burden sharing. 
Vacancy increased from 5.4% to 8.3% at year end 2020, impacted by bankruptcies and lower leasing activity (1,528 leases signed, -36% vs. 2019).

Lfl shopping centre NRI was down by -24.0% for the Group, mainly driven by the impact of COVID-19 through rent relief and higher bad debt provisioning. The Lfl NRI performance was -19.1% in Continental Europe, -28.0% in the US and -49.3% in the UK, which suffered in particular from a high level of CVAs and bankruptcies.

The recovery seen during 2020 when centres reopened, and when restrictions for F&B and Entertainment were lifted, gives the Group a high degree of confidence that its Flagship destinations will continue to be the preferred locations for retailers and consumers.  

Offices & Others

Lfl NRI was up by +0.1%, while total NRI was down by -16.9%, primarily as a result of the disposals of the Majunga office and the Novotel Lyon Confluence in 2019 and 2020, respectively, and the transfer of Michelet Galilee to the pipeline, partly offset by the delivery of SHiFT and Versailles Chantiers.  

Convention & Exhibition

Recurring NOI was down by -92.3% compared to 2019, as most events were cancelled from March 9 as a result of government restrictions. Currently the Group expects a restart of activity in Q4-2021 / Q1-2022.

ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES

In 2020, URW implemented furlough plans and partial activity schemes, reduced the non-staff costs, restructured the US and UK organisation and downsized the development teams. Collectively, these steps generated gross administrative savings of €80 Mn in 2020 vs. 2019.

DELIVERIES

In 2020, the Group delivered the first phase of the Westfield Valley Fair and La Part-Dieu retail extensions, two restructuring projects at Westfield Les 4 Temps, and the Trinity office tower. The average letting(7) of the retail deliveries stands at 84%, as a result of phased deliveries.

In 2021, URW plans to deliver the Westfield Mall of the Netherlands redevelopment in H1 (pre-letting(7): 90%), and the Gaîté Montparnasse mixed-use project in H2 (pre-letting(7): 100% for Offices & Others, and 84% for Retail).

VALUATION

The proportionate Gross Market Value (GMV) of the Group’s assets as at December 31, decreased by -13.8% to €56.3 Bn from December 31, 2019, mainly as a result of a like-for-like portfolio revaluation of -€6,020 Mn (-11.2%), revaluation of non like-for-like assets of -€1,141 Mn, FX impact and disposals, partly offset by CAPEX.

The EPRA Net Reinstatement Value per share came to €166.80 as at December 31, 2020, down -€62.00 (-27.1 %) compared to December 31, 2019, and -€30.20 (-15.3%) compared to June 30, 2020.

STRONG LIQUIDITY POSITION WITH CONTINUED ACCESS TO CREDIT MARKETS(8)

  • Ample liquidity to cover financing needs for next 24 months
  • Successfully issued €4,150 Mn of bonds in challenging markets

The Group’s average cost of debt stood at 1.7% for FY-2020 (vs. 1.6% in 2019), representing a blended 1.1% for EUR(9) debt and 3.6% for USD and GBP debt. The LTV (Loan-to-Value) ratio stood at 44.7% (44.0% pro-forma for the disposal of the SHiFT and Les Villages 3, 4 and 6 office buildings). The ICR (Interest Coverage Ratio) was 3.5x and the Net Debt / EBITDA was 14.6x due to a strongly reduced EBITDA resulting from the COVID-19 crisis.

URW has good access to credit markets, as illustrated by the €4,150 Mn of bonds issued during the year, despite the adverse operational and market conditions. As a result, the Group has a very strong liquidity position with €2.1 Bn of cash and €9.2 Bn of undrawn credit facilities(10) as at December 31, 2020, covering its financing needs for the next 24 months, even without any further funds being raised or disposals being completed.

CONTINUED FOCUS ON DELEVERAGING STRATEGY

  • Deleveraging remains a key priority of URW
  • This will be achieved via €4 Bn of European disposals(11) and implementing a programme to significantly reduce financial exposure to the US, strict control of CAPEX, and suspending the dividend

URW remains strongly committed to deleveraging through disposals, limiting CAPEX and temporarily suspending the dividend.  

In 2020, the Group completed the disposal of a portfolio of five shopping centres in France to an entity formed by Crédit Agricole Assurances, La Française and URW, in which the Group holds a stake of 45.8%, generating Net Disposal Proceeds of €1.5 Bn. URW also completed the disposal of several non-core assets in Europe and the US.

In addition, URW announced the disposal of SHiFT, which was closed on January 21, 2021, and of the Les Villages 3, 4 and 6 office buildings, which are expected to close during Q1-2021. With those disposals, the Group has completed €0.8 Bn of its €4 Bn European disposal target announced in September 2020.

URW intends to complete the remaining €3.2 Bn European disposals by year end 2022 and will implement in 2021 / 2022 a programme to significantly reduce its financial exposure to the US when the investment market reopens which should happen with the expected US economy rebound in 2022. The Group’s strong liquidity position allows it to do these disposals over time and in an orderly fashion.

As a key part of the deleveraging plans, URW has also reduced the development pipeline to €4.4 Bn(12), down from €8.3 Bn(12)  as at December 31, 2019.  Committed projects amount to €2.9 Bn, of which €1.7 Bn are already invested, leaving only €1.2 Bn left to be spent. The Group will limit overall capital expenditure for the next two years to €2 Bn in total.  

NEW AND MORE AGILE ORGANIZATION

The newly constituted Management Board reflects the strategic priorities of the Group in the current challenging environment. A Chief Investment Officer has been appointed to execute on URW’s disposal programme, while the Chief Customer Officer will be fully focused on making the organisation more customer centric and accelerating innovation and the use of digital technology across the Group.

2021 GUIDANCE

  • Realistic expectations for 2021
  • First quarters of 2021: challenging conditions to remain in place with operating restrictions
  • Year end 2021: expected start of recovery varying by market, depending on infection rate, vaccination roll out and government stimulus programmes

As at the beginning of February, all countries in which the Group is active continue to have some level of restrictions in place which impact on the Group’s operations. As at February 10, approximately 52% of URW’s shopping centres are restricted from trading except for “essential” stores.

URW’s operational results will thus clearly continue to be impacted by the pandemic in 2021. The impact is likely to include further rent relief to tenants, further disruption to variable revenue streams such as Sales Based Rent, Parking or Commercial Partnerships, a longer than usual time needed to re-lease vacant units, and the prospect of further tenant bankruptcies. In addition, 2021 is likely to remain a challenging year for the Group’s Convention & Exhibition and airports businesses.

Given the uncertainty regarding the duration and the severity of restrictions decided by governments and their impact on the Group’s operations, URW is currently not providing earnings guidance for 2021. Guidance will be provided when the Group has clearer visibility on lifting of restrictions and the subsequent economic recovery.

Looking forward, the Group sees good prospects for a solid recovery starting at some point in the second half of the year, as vaccination efforts achieve critical mass and restrictions get lifted. Government support means that consumer finances in the Group’s markets remain robust and the Group firmly believes that people will again seek out the mix of top brands and great experiences offered by URW’s Flagship destinations when they are able to.

URW is very confident in the quality of its assets and the enduring strength of its business and teams. The Group, with its newly reconfigured management team, is taking all necessary measures to address these challenges in the best possible manner and strategically position URW for the future.

DIVIDEND POLICY

Given the impact of the pandemic on the Group’s 2020 results, the on-going uncertainty of the 2021 operating environment and its impact on URW’s results, as well as the Group’s commitment to deleverage, the Group has decided to suspend the payment of a dividend for its fiscal years 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Once the Group has completed its deleveraging programme, it will resume paying a dividend (at a significant and sustainable payout ratio) which will grow in line with the performance of its reshaped portfolio.

Given the statutory results of URW SE in 2020, the Group has no obligation to pay a dividend in 2021 for the fiscal year 2020 under the SIIC regime and other REIT regimes it benefits from. It anticipates not to have such an obligation in fiscal years 2021 and 2022 as well. Consequently, URW SE’s SIIC distribution obligation, standing at €212.5 Mn as at December 31, 2020, will be delayed until URW SE has sufficient statutory results to meet this obligation.

FINANCIAL SCHEDULE

The next financial events on the Group’s calendar will be:
April 28, 2021: Q1-2021 trading update
May 12, 2021: AGM Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield SE
July 28, 2021: H1-2021 results

For further information, please contact:

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

Media Relations
Céline van Steenbrugghe
+33 6 71 89 73 08
celine.vansteenbrugghe@urw.com

NB: All figures on a proportionate basis, unless otherwise indicated

1. Normal operating days refer to the period pre-COVID. The various restrictions include among others the closure of F&B or other sectors, capacity restrictions. Centres counted as closed when only “essential” stores were allowed to trade. Weighted by shopping centres NRI in 2019. 

2. 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.

3. Including minority interest in retail, taxes, contribution of affiliates, FX impact, administrative expenses (excl. letting fees) and others.

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 2020 reporting period, shopping centres excluded due to delivery or ongoing works were Les Ateliers Gaité, La Part-Dieu, CNIT (from August 2020), 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. Total tenant sales excluding Tesla and Carrousel du Louvre.

5. For the Shopping Centre division, including service charges.

6. Excluding deferrals and rent relief granted or under process.

7. GLA signed, all agreed to be signed and financials agreed.

8. On an IFRS basis.

9. Including SEK.

10. Subject to covenants.

11. Including €0.8 Bn of SHiFT and Les Villages 3, 4 and 6 already signed.

12. 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) opening marketing expenses. It excludes: (i) step rents and rent-free periods; (ii) capitalized financial interests; (iii) overhead costs; (iv) early or lost Net Rental Income; and (v) IFRS adjustments.  

About Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield is the premier global developer and operator of Flagship Destinations, with a portfolio valued at €56.3 Bn as at December 31, 2020, of which 85% in retail, 8% in offices, 5% in convention & exhibition venues and 2% in services. Currently, the Group owns and operates 87 shopping centres, including 53 Flagships in the most dynamic cities in Europe and the United States. 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 3,100 professionals and an unparalleled track-record and know-how, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield is ideally positioned to generate superior value and develop world-class projects.
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 a Baa1 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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