Paris, Amsterdam, July 28, 2021
UNIBAIL-RODAMCO-WESTFIELD REPORTS H1-2021 EARNINGS
First half results reflect significant COVID-19 related disruption – continued resilience in tough operating conditions
All centres now open and trading - encouraging recovery in footfall and sales data when restrictions ease
Flagship strategy endorsed by successful opening of Westfield Mall of the Netherlands and delivery of last phase of La Part-Dieu and La Maquinista extensions
Good progress on comprehensive deleveraging plan – agreed or completed €1.7 Bn in European disposals; US portfolio streamlining underway
H1-2021 in review:
Continued COVID-related disruption, with the Group’s centres “closed” for 68 days on average (vs. 67 days in H1-2020), despite no closures in the US(1)
Progressive reopening of European centres during April and May, with June footfall reaching 76% of 2019 levels and June tenant sales at 86% of 2019 levels in Europe, and reaching 100% in the US
Rent collection at 89% of rent due, exceeding H1-2020 despite lower collection in France due to pending decision on government support
Improvement in letting activity, with 1,218 deals signed, +84% vs. H1-2020 and +3% vs. H1-2019
Pragmatic approach to lease terms to navigate short term challenges and protect long term value, with 56% of H1-2021 deals being leases between 12 and 36 months
Overall vacancy stabilised in Q2 at 8.9% (vs. 8.3% at FY-20 and 8.8% at Q1-2021); vacancy down in Continental Europe from 5.4% at Q1-2021 to 5.0% at H1-2021; UK down from 12.6% to 12.2%
Successful opening of Westfield Mall of the Netherlands in March 2021: 94% let with around 1 million visits in both May and June
Further progress on European disposals with €1.7 Bn now agreed or completed out of the €4.0 Bn to be achieved by the end of 2022, including the agreed disposal of 7 Adenauer office building, for which a promissory deed of sale was signed in July 2021
€12.5 Bn of cash and available facilities on hand, securing refinancing needs for the next 36-months
IFRS LTV at 44.4% and 43.7% pro-forma for the proceeds of the sale of 45% of Shopping City Süd cashed-in in July and 7 Adenauer; H1-2021 proforma Net Financial Debt at €23.0 Bn (FY-20: €24.2 Bn)
Further strengthening of governance and leadership expertise with the appointment of a Chief Customer Officer to the Management Board to better address evolving consumer preferences and drive future growth in advertising, data, and omnichannel retail
Commenting on the results, Jean-Marie Tritant, Chief Executive Officer said:
“URW has demonstrated continued resilience in the face of tough operating conditions, with substantial lockdowns across our network during the period. Whenever restrictions were lifted, we have seen a recovery in both footfall and sales, in most cases at higher levels than those seen during the reopening in 2020.
Letting activity improved, as brands continue to choose URW destinations as part of their omnichannel approach. Our teams have worked hard to stabilize occupancy levels, adopting a pragmatic approach to lease structure and duration that positions URW to benefit as market conditions improve.
Throughout the first half we maintained our focus on key operational and financial priorities. This includes the successful opening of our latest flagship destination Westfield Mall of the Netherlands and marked progress in our deleveraging efforts thanks to both European disposals and the on-going streamlining of our US portfolio. This process is supported by favourable access to credit markets, giving us ample liquidity to cover all refinancing needs for the next 36 months.
While positive indicators and continued progress of the vaccination rollout give us reasons to be cautiously optimistic, the COVID-19 situation and potential government responses to it remain a source of uncertainty in terms of outlook.
I would like to once again acknowledge the commitment and tenacity of our teams in this unique period.”
Net Rental Income (in € Mn)
Offices & Others
Convention & Exhibition
Recurring net result (in € Mn)
Recurring EPS (in €)
Adjusted Recurring EPS (in €)
June 30, 2021
Dec. 31, 2020
Proportionate portfolio valuation (in € Mn)
EPRA Net Reinstatement Value (in € per stapled share)
Figures may not add up due to rounding
H1-2021 AREPS: €3.24
Reported AREPS amounted to €3.24, down -30.4% from H1-2020, a decrease of -€1.41, split as follows:
-€1.10 due to the impact of COVID-19 on operations and financing (primarily driven by rent relief);
-€0.30 due to disposals made in 2020 and H1-2021; and
-€0.01 of other items.
During the first half year, on average, the Group’s shopping centres were closed for 68 days (vs. 67 days in H1-2020), including 92 days in Europe (vs. 60 days in H1-2020). Most of the Group’s European centres had to close during the period, except for “essential” retailers and centres in Sweden and parts of Spain which remained open throughout the period (albeit with restrictions still in place that limited traffic).
Following the reopening in April and May, footfall in Europe saw an immediate increase, reaching levels equal to or above what was seen in the initial reopening in spring 2020. With all centres open throughout June, footfall in Europe for that month reached 76% of June 2019 levels.
Whilst all of the Group’s European centres are currently able to trade relatively normally, some restrictions remain in place, and the Group continues to prepare for recently announced policies in key markets.
In the US, footfall is not available for all centres(3), for those assets for which sufficient data is available, footfall in the first half overall was 65% of 2019 levels, reaching 75% in June, including Westfield San Francisco Centre which was still more heavily impacted.
While tenant sales(4) were impacted by closures and restrictions during H1-2021, levels were resilient once again in periods when the Group’s tenants were able to trade, outperforming footfall trends. In June, when all centres were open throughout the month, tenant sales in Europe reached 86% of June 2019 levels with Central Europe at 92%, the Nordics at 91%, France at 90%, Austria at 87%, Germany at 86% and Spain at 85%, while the UK was at 72%.
In terms of June category performance, Jewellery (+2.1%) performed well, while Food Stores & Mass Merchandise (-2.0%), Sport (-2.5%), Home (-3.8%) and Health & Beauty (-5.9%) came close to the 2019 levels, whereas as expected Entertainment (-40.3%), Services (-39.0%), F&B (-21.1%) and to a lesser extent Fashion (-16.4%) continued to lag.
While all of the Group’s US centres were open in the first half, tenant sales continued to be negatively impacted in the first quarter by the on-going closure or limitation of categories such as F&B, Entertainment and Fitness. These restrictions were generally imposed in California, New York, New Jersey, and Maryland (the Group’s key US markets) longer than in other parts of the US. Following the reopening of these sectors during February and March, a marked improvement has been seen with a steady increase from 69% in January to 100% in June for the whole portfolio. Notably, in the non-CBD Flagship centres(5), tenant sales saw a positive evolution from 93% of 2019 levels in March to 107% in June.
Across the portfolio, this was particularly driven by strength in the Luxury category (+45.6% in June or +42.6% YTD). Moreover, in June, the Group also saw a positive evolution in Home (+27.1%), Jewellery (+23.3%), Services (+23.2%) and Sports (+18.9%) in particular. For the important Fashion category, a noticeable improvement was seen from -14.9% in March to -4.0% in June, while F&B recovered to -9.4%, both nearly at 2019 levels.
Rent collection(6), as at July 22, amounted to 73% for H1-2021, including 69% in Continental Europe, 77% in the UK and 80% in the US. Adjusted for the rent relief granted, the collection rate was 89% of the total amount due.
Rent relief negotiations with tenants relating to the first and second waves of COVID-19 in 2020 are over 80% signed. With the subsequent waves of COVID-related restrictions in H1-2021, the Group proceeded to apply the same principles, providing appropriate rent relief on a fair “burden sharing” principle. In total for Europe, the cash impact of rent relief expected for the first half closures corresponds to 1.5 months (vs. 1.6 months for 2020 overall).
During H1-2021, the Group signed 1,218 leases, slightly above H1-2019 and +84% above H1-2020. The Group has adopted a pragmatic approach to lease terms, with an increase in short term leases (between 12 and 36 months), representing 56% of the leases signed, to both limit vacancies while also protecting longer term rental values. The MGR uplift for deals above 36 months came to +1.3% for the Group, with Continental Europe at +2.2%, the UK at -1.3% and the US at +2.9%. Overall, the MGR uplift on all deals was -6.5%.
Like-for-like shopping centre NRI was down by -21.8% for the Group, and by -31.0% in Continental Europe, while the like-for-like NRI was flat in the US. The performance reflects the €220 Mn COVID-19 rent relief signed or expected to be signed in H1, of which €183 Mn has been charged to the income statement, and €65 Mn of debtor provisions.
The recovery seen during H1-2021 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 as trading conditions gradually normalise.
Offices & Others
Like-for-like NRI was down by -1.0%, while total NRI fell -23.9%, primarily as a result of the disposals of the SHiFT and the Les Villages 3, 4 and 6 office buildings. The Trinity building in La Défense, which was delivered in 2020, achieved its first key lettings with Technip and Welkin & Meraki, and is now 21% let.
Convention & Exhibition
Recurring NOI amounted to -€1.5 Mn compared to €21.1 Mn in H1-2020 and €87.6 Mn in H1-2019, as most events were banned until mid-May. Restrictions were only lifted at the end of the half with an initial recovery expected in Q4-2021 (with 158 in pre-bookings, o/w 86 bookings), which should gather pace in 2022 (with already 299 pre-bookings, o/w 80 bookings).
URW remains committed to deleveraging, through disposals, limiting CAPEX and retaining earnings.
In H1-2021, URW completed the disposal of SHiFT, which was announced in 2020, and the disposal of the Les Villages 3, 4 and 6 office buildings. In addition, several disposals were announced during the period, including the sale of Aupark Bratislava in a phased transaction with a headline price of €450 Mn and the sale of a 45% stake in Shopping City Süd for a headline price of €1,065 Mn (at 100%). These transaction values represented a price in line with and 3% below the last unaffected appraisal values, and closed in May and July 2021, respectively.
On July 8, 2021, URW signed a promissory deed of sale and leaseback agreement for the disposal of its headquarters, 7 Adenauer, in Paris’ 16th district. The Net Disposal Price (“NDP”) of €249 Mn reflected a premium to the last unaffected appraisal value, and the deal is expected to close in September 2021. Several minor disposals were also made (the Le Blériot office building in Paris, the Q-Huset office building in Täby, and a land plot in Osnabrück) for a total NDP of €63 Mn(7).
When all announced disposals have completed, URW will have achieved €1.7 Bn out of the €4.0 Bn European disposal programme which is intended to complete by the end of 2022. In parallel, a taskforce has been put in place, and several options are under consideration to deliver a radical reduction of the Group’s exposure to the US.
In addition to the European disposals, during H1-2021 URW voluntarily foreclosed on four US Regional centres (Westfield Citrus Park, Westfield Countryside, Westfield Sarasota and Westfield Broward). This resulted in the derecognition of US$411 Mn of non-recourse debt from URW’s balance sheet and a positive net capital gain of €75 Mn.
The Total Investment Cost (TIC)(8) of URW’s development pipeline has reduced to €3.8 Bn, down from €4.4 Bn as at December 31, 2020, as a result of deliveries, with no major new projects added to the pipeline. Committed projects amount to €2.3 Bn, of which €1.3 Bn are already invested, leaving only €1.0 Bn left to be spent. The Group does not intend to start any large scale controlled projects until it has achieved its deleveraging objectives, or only after forming a capital partnership to reduce capital allocation and generate development and management fees.
In H1-2021, the Group delivered the Westfield Mall of the Netherlands project and the Fashion Pavilion at La Maquinista (Barcelona), in addition to two department store conversion projects at Westfield Annapolis (Maryland) and Westfield Garden State Plaza (New Jersey). The average letting(9) of these deliveries stands at 88%. The Group also opened the last phase of the La Part-Dieu project (Lyon).
In H2-2021, URW plans to deliver the hotel component of the Gaîté Montparnasse (Paris) mixed use project, which will be operated by Accor under the Pullman brand.
The proportionate Gross Market Value (GMV) of the Group’s assets as at June 30, decreased by -2.4% to €55.0 Bn from December 31, 2020, mainly as a result of disposals (-€1.4 Bn) and a like-for-like portfolio revaluation of -€1.1 Bn (-2.3%), partly offset by CAPEX and positive FX moves.
The EPRA Net Reinstatement Value per share came to €162.40 as at June 30, 2021, down -€4.40 (-2.6%) compared to December 31, 2020, mainly driven by the revaluation of investment properties, offset by the retained recurring results, revaluation of operating asset (7 Adenauer) and positive FX moves.
The Group’s average cost of debt increased from 1.7% to 1.9%, representing a blended 1.4% for EUR(10) debt and 3.9% for USD and GBP debt. The net financial debt came down from €24.2 Bn to €23.5 Bn between December 31, 2020, and June 30, 2021. Pro forma for the disposals already agreed but not closed at June 30, it will reach €23.0 Bn. The Loan-to-Value (LTV) ratio slightly decreased from 44.7% to 44.4%, and 43.7% pro-forma for the disposal of 45% of Shopping City Süd (Vienna) and 7 Adenauer (Paris).
The Group’s average debt maturity came to 8.7 years. The Interest Coverage Ratio (ICR) was 2.9x. The Funds from Operations to Net Financial Debt (FFO / NFD) ratio stood at 4.3%. The Group complied with the covenants on its corporate debt despite the extraordinary operating activities in H1-2021, leading to a -25% decrease in EBITDA mainly related to rent relief granted.
URW had access to credit markets at favourable conditions, as illustrated by the €1,250 Mn of bonds issued in May 2021, with a weighted average maturity of 9.6 years and a weighted average coupon of 1.05%, and the signing of an extended €3.1 Bn five-year sustainability linked revolving credit facility with a syndicate of 19 banks. With cash and available facilities of €12.5 Bn, the Group has fully secured refinancing needs for at least 36 months, which is 12 months longer than as at December 31, 2020.
As expected in February 2021, the Group’s performance remains significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite that, the Group has progressed on its deleveraging programme and its operational priorities with leasing activity back to 2019 levels and the successful delivery of projects in Europe and the US. The Group has also been able to reopen all activities albeit with some remaining restrictions, such as limited capacities in some locations.
While the on-going roll out of successful vaccines supports operational stabilisation, the impact of COVID-19 is anticipated to continue during part of H2-2021. The development of new variants and the restrictions contemplated to mitigate them generate additional uncertainty for URW’s activities. Given this, URW is currently not providing any guidance for 2021.
URW is 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.
URW is pursuing the remainder of its disposal programme of €4.0 Bn of European assets over the next 18 months and has put in place a taskforce to deliver a radical reduction of the Group’s exposure to the US, to complete the planned deleveraging process. These disposals should have a negative impact on the Group’s results. The Group’s strong liquidity position allows it to complete these disposals over time and in an orderly fashion.
The next financial events on the Group’s calendar will be:
October 27, 2021: Q3-2021 trading statement
February 10, 2022: FY-2021 results
For further information, please contact:
+33 1 53 43 72 77
Nathalie Feld – Image 7
+33 6 30 47 18 37
Cornelia Schnepf – Finelk
+44 7387 108 998
Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield is the premier global developer and operator of Flagship Destinations, with a portfolio valued at €55.0 Bn as at June 30, 2021, of which 86% in retail, 7% in offices, 5% in convention & exhibition venues and 2% in services. Currently, the Group owns and operates 86 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 2,900 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 a BBB+ rating from Standard & Poor’s and from a Baa2 rating from Moody’s.
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(1) Centres counted as closed when only “essential” stores were allowed to trade. Weighted by shopping centre 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) Only includes the 20 centres for which at least one year of comparable Springboard or ShopperTrak data is available.
(4) European tenant sales data does not include Zlote Tarasy as it is not managed by URW. 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. Primark sales are based on estimates. Excluding Tesla sales. Carrousel du Louvre is excluded.
(5) I.e. excluding Westfield World Trade Center and Westfield San Francisco Centre.
(6) For the Shopping Centre division, including service charges.
(7) Group share
(8) URW Total Investment Cost (TIC) equals 100% TIC multiplied by URW's percentage stake in the project, adjusted by specific own costs and income, 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.
(9) GLA signed, all agreed to be signed and financials agreed.
(10) Including SEK.