Dutch results weigh down Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield's progress

Property investor Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, one of the world's largest real estate funds with a focus on offices and shopping centres, saw its rental income rise sharply. The Netherlands however told a different story.

 

861 million euro’s rental income

After the acquisition of Australian real estate investor Westfield by French-Dutch Unibail-Rodamco, the total value of the real estate portfolio went up to a staggering 61.3 billion euro. These properties generated rent revenues of 861 million euro over the past six months, an increase of 8.3 % compared to the same period a year earlier (+4.7 % on a comparable basis).

 

Shopping centres account for the lion's share of that revenue: 738 million euro, a growth of 10.2 % (+4.3 % like-for-like). Within the retail segment, comparable rental income grew most strongly in Central Europe (+6.6 %), the Northern region (+6.5 %) and France (+5.3 %)

 

Netherlands' alarm signs

The Dutch shopping centres, on the other hand, underperformed: on a comparable basis, there was a decrease of 1.6 % compared to the first six months of last year. This seems to put an end to the upward trend recorded in 2017 and in the first quarter of this year. CFO Jaap Tonckens attributes this in to "tenants who could not meet their obligations", says Dutch business newspaper FD. The rents of retail properties have been falling for several years under pressure of e-commerce.

 

Over the past six months, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield has sold over 1.3 billion euros in assets: four shopping centres in Spain, two offices in Paris, a shopping centre in Sweden and one in the United States (San Diego). In the Netherlands, the City Mall Almere and the Stadshart Zoetermeer are also on display. In total, the investor wants to dispose of assets for 3 billion euro. The group currently runs 102 shopping centres in 13 countries, welcoming 1.2 billion visitors a year.