7 November 2018 13:16

The Board of Directors approves the results at 30 September 2018 and the Strategic Plan 2019-2021

RESULTS AT 30 SEPTEMBER 2018:

  • Strong growth trend in FFO confirmed: €5 million (+ 21.5%)
  • Net rental income: €3 million, + 10.7% (malls LFL Italy + 1.6%, Romania + 3.8%)
  • Sales of retailers in Italian malls + 2.1%; upside on lease renewals (Italy + 1.7%; Romania + 2.5%)
  • Loan-to-Value 45.84%; Interest cover ratio 3.47x

 

BUSINESS PLAN 2019-2021: FOCUS ON CONSOLIDATION OF LEADERSHIP AND STRENGTHENING THE FINANCIAL STRUCTURE

The Plan is based on 3 pillars:

  • Innovation and operating excellence, particularly in commercial activities, marketing and sustainability
  • Asset Management focused on increasing the quality of the portfolio and strengthening the leadership positioning of assets. Strategic agreement signed with Coop Alleanza 3.0 which calls for a complete revision of the leases for 18 hypermarkets and the remodeling of 5 of them with a view to expanding the adjacent malls
  • Strengthening of the financial structure through rigorous financial discipline and asset rotation (Loan-to-Value expected to drop further to less than 45% over the plan period )

 

“After having built a leading portfolio in Italy, with 1.2 billion invested in 10 years, in this Business Plan, which takes us through 2021, we will focus even more on strengthening the positioning of our assets, on the quality of the structures, as well as cutting edge commercial initiatives and marketing which reflect the most recent sector changes” stated Claudio Albertini, IGD’s Chief Executive Officer. “The important strategic agreement signed with Coop Alleanza 3.0 also represents a step in this direction.  As a result of this agreement we will be able to increase the sustainability and visibility of the rents and cash flow of our main tenants. We will, at the same time, remodel 5 shopping centers over the plan period in light of new market trends.  We plan on investing around 90 million on our portfolio over the next three years but, well aware of the challenging environment, we will also strive to further reduce financial leverage to less than45% and further strengthen the Group’s financial structure including through strategic asset rotation. Our mission will be, therefore, to consolidate our leadership through sustainable growth.  Albertini concluded.

 

Today the Board of Directors of IGD – Immobiliare Grande Distribuzione SIIQ S.p.A. (“IGD” or the “Company”), examined and approved the interim financial report at 30 September 2018 and the Business Plan 2019-2021 during a meeting chaired by Elio Gasperoni.

 

RESULTS AT 30 SEPTEMBER 2018

The positive trend in pre-letting reported in past quarters persisted: in Italy 157 leases (renewals and turnover) were signed in the first nine months of the year with an average upside of +1.7%; in Romania 168 leases were renewed with an average upside of +2.5%.

In the first nine months of 2018 the positive trend in retailers’ sales LFL continued: +2.1% including the ESP extension in Ravenna (in line with 2017 excluding it), despite the unfavorable weather conditions which adversely impacted apparel sales in September and the comparison with a particularly positive September 2017.

Average occupancy was stable, at high levels, reaching 97.2% in Italy and 97.5% in Romania.

 

More in detail, the results show rental income reached 113 million, an increase of +9.2% explained by

  • for around €1.3 million, like-for-like growth in Italy (+1.4%). Malls were up +1.6% and hypermarkets +0.9%; inflation contributed 85 bps
  • for around €7.9 million, higher revenue not like-for-like linked to the opening of the ESP extension on 1 June 2017 and the acquisition of 4 malls from Eurocommercial Properties on 18 April 2018
  • for around €0.3 million, higher revenue like-for-like in Romania  (+ 3.8%)

 

Net rental income amounted to €92.3 million, an increase of 10.7% against the same period of the prior year.

Net revenue from services came to €0.8 million, higher than the €0.4 million recorded in the previous year.

Core business Ebitda amounted to 85.1 million, an increase of 12.1% compared to 30 September 2017; the core business Ebitda Margin rose 210 basis points to 72.3%. The freehold Ebitda margin (relative to freehold properties) came to 80.7%, an increase of 100 basis points against September 2017.

Financial expense decreased (-6.8%) to €24.3 million: the downward trend in the average cost of debt, which came to 2.67% (vs 2.85% in September 2017), was, therefore, confirmed.

The Group’s net financial position amounted to – 1,117 million, a slight increase compared to September 2017 (- €1,065 million). Financial indicators like loan-to-value (45.84%) and Interest Cover Ratio (3.47x) improved.

The Group’s portion of net profit, therefore, amounted to €52.4 million, while the Funds from Operations (FFO)  reached  €59.5 million, an increase of 21.5% against the first nine months of 2017. The Group confirms the growth targets for FY 2018, revised in August (at least +20% against year-end 2018).

 

STRATEGIC PLAN 2019-2021

Over the last ten years IGD has worked very hard to create a leading portfolio in Italy, completing a significant pipeline of investments (around €820 million, with the opening of 9 shopping malls and 5 hypermarkets),  taking advantage of interesting market opportunities (worth around €420 million, with average gross initial yields above 6.5%), and recording significant financial results, particularly in the last 4 years:

  • FFO more than doubled (CAGR of +23%)
  • Constant dividend growth
  • Group’s leverage reduced by more than 10 percentage points

Having reached an optimal size for the Italian market, over the coming years the Business Plan will focus on strengthening and maintaining the sustainability of the shopping centers’ leadership in their respective catchment areas, in order to be ready to face the market changes underway and future challenges.

 

This Business Plan is based mainly on 3 pillars:

Innovation and operational excellence:

The world of retail and shopping is constantly changing, as are the layouts, role and content of shopping centers.  IGD believes that in the coming years finding ways to promote interaction and personalized relationships with visitors, as well as the integration of e-commerce, will be key; shopping centers will increasingly be more experience and social  media oriented. 

IGD has, therefore, developed a plan focused on innovation, designed to guide and improve, as well as personalize, the visitors’ customer journey, providing sophisticated ways to enjoy leisure time which enhance the role of shopping centers as entertainment hubs and meeting places: the introduction of chat bot technology, structured use of the most popular social media, interactive digital communication, an increasingly more inclusive and exclusive calendar of events (including through co-marketing with renowned international brands). The online-offline interaction will be strengthened by working directly with shopping mall tenants, placing lockers for the pick-up of purchases in all the shopping centers  (specific agreements have been signed with Amazon and Poste Italiane), and attracting tenants that are active on-line looking to open physical stores.   The great attention to sustainability will continue, both environmental (€5 million is earmarked for improving energy efficiency) and social (the shopping center is expected to assume an increasingly more active role in the community thanks to the revival of social street dynamics).

 

Asset management and the strategic agreement with Coop Alleanza 3.0:

The investments planned aim to maintain and increase the quality of the portfolio, favoring innovation, appeal, quality  materials, in addition to sustainability.

The plan calls for:

  • investments of around €35 million in the restyling / refurbishment of the existing portfolio and in supporting commercial activities. These types of improvements, already tested in several shopping centers, benefitted tenants with positive repercussions for the long-term sustainability of rental income.  The main projects will involve Casilino (internal and external restyling), Fonti del Corallo (restyling and remodeling of the hypermarket), Gran Rondò (internal restyling) and La Favorita (internal and external restyling ).
  • investments of around €26 million in the completion of two development projects: Officine Storiche in Livorno (more than 15 thousand square meters of retail space which is expected to open in the first half of 2020) and a new entertainment space adjacent to Centro ESP in Ravenna (work is expected to be completed in 2021)
  • capex of around €30 million in order to maintain the high quality and safety of the assets
  • an additional €10 million in non-retail investments relating primarily to the Porta a Mare Project (more specifically, the residential portion of Officine Storiche which will be sold)

 

The resources needed to execute the Strategic Agreement entered into with Coop Alleanza 3.0,  partner and the Group’s main food anchor, are included in the investment plan.

The Agreement, approved and signed today, relates to 18 hypermarkets with a fair value of around €520 million (approximately 21% of the total market value of IGD’s portfolio[1]) and calls for:

  • revision of the lease terms, namely a lengthening of the expiration of all the leases covered under the agreement and the adjustment of a few rents with a view to increased stability and sustainability
  • remodeling of a few assets: 5 assets which could benefit from increasing the number of stores/services in the malls by downsizing the hypermarket

 

The agreement represents a unique and singular opportunity to achieve the objective to increase the overall sustainability of rents and future cash flows, as well as lengthen the average term of the leases ( from 7.1 to approximately 18 years).The role of the food anchor as an attractor for visitors will, in fact, continue to be key, even as shopping centers change. IGD and Coop Alleanza are committed to developing a more complete and integrated relationship with a view to implementing shared marketing projects, conducting studies of consumer behavior and developing Customer Relationship Management strategies.

More in detail,  the term of the leases and the rents will be revised for 13 hypermarkets which will not have a noticeable impact on rents (net effect of -€0.2 million) which will be aligned with ERV2.  The GLA of the 5 hypermarkets subject to remodeling, located in centers where the company may exploit a single property (hyper and mall) will be reduced by around 21,400 m2 and new leasable mall space of around 18,600 m2 will be created which is estimated will have a net impact on rents of approximately -€1.7 million with new rents aligned with ERV [2].

The signing of the Agreement with the parent Coop Alleanza is considered a material related party transaction for IGD and was, therefore, approved by the Board of Directors after having received a favorable opinion from the Committee for Related Party Transactions.  In order to express an opinion on the fairness of the new rents, the Committee availed itself of the support of CBRE Valuation S.p.A., Cushman & Wakefield, Duff & Phelps Real Estate Advisory Group S.p.A., Jones Lang LaSalle S.p.A., already hired as independent experts by the Company to conduct the half-yearly appraisals of the real estate portfolio. The relative documentation will be published pursuant to and in accordance with Article 5 of Consob Regulation n. 17221/2010.

 

Financial strategy:

In order to limit exposure to financial risk (interest rate and credit) and obtain the best market terms and conditions possible, the company intends to maintain rigorous financial discipline, in line with the investment grade profile.

The main goals are to further reduce Loan-to-Value (bringing it below 45%), improve liquidity, maintain a balance between bank and market debt (with maximum flexibility in the types of financing used) .

The cost of debt should be in a range of between 2.4% and 2.7%, with the Interest Cover Ratio rising to around 4x.

 

After 4 years of strong growth driven largely by new openings and acquisitions, the next three years will be dedicated to consolidating the leadership role of the centers and strengthening the balance sheet, without further acquisitions: rental income is expected to grow at a CAGR of around +2% and Funds from Operations  (FFO) at a CAGR of around +3%[3];  the goal of paying a dividend that is attractive and sustainable over time is confirmed. The idea that IGD could act as an aggregator of new assets is still valid, particularly in order to further increase market share and leverage on greater economies of scale, market conditions permitting.

The presentation document of the Strategic Plan is available on the web site  http://www.gruppoigd.it/en/  in the investor relations section (http://www.gruppoigd.it/en/investor-relations/presentations/)

 

OTHER RESOLUTIONS

APPOINTMENT OF A NEW DIRECTOR OF ADMINISTRATION, LEGAL AND CORPORATE AFFAIRS

Effective from 1 January 2019 Grazia Margherita Piolanti, Director of Administration, Legal and Corporate Affairs, as well as the Financial Reporting Officer, will give up her role to Carlo Barban, Chief Executive Officer of Winmarkt (the IGD Group’s Romanian subsidiary).

Grazia Margherita Piolanti will end her career in order to retire, after a professional life spent largely in IGD where she had a crucial role in the “pioneering” process of transforming IGD into a SIIQ .

To date Ms. Piolanti has 639 ordinary shares of IGD.

Carlo Barban, who has been part of  IGD since 2009, initially acted as Operating & Reporting Manager of  Winmarkt to then become Chief Executive Officer in 2014.  Mr. Barban is 40 years old,  has a degree in Business Economics and before becoming part of the Group worked for important chartered accountants and international consulting companies.

On behalf of IGD’s Board of Directors, the Chairman, Elio Gasperoni and the Chief Executive Officer, Claudio Albertini, expressed their heartfelt gratitude to Grazia Margherita Piolanti for the priceless and important contribution she made to the Company’s growth and development since its inception, following the IPO and after its transformation into a  SIIQ.

 

RENEWAL OF THE CONTRACT RELATING TO THE PROGRAM TO SUPPORT THE STOCK’S LIQUIDITY

In execution of the authorization to purchase treasury shares granted during the shareholders’ meeting held on 1 June 2018 , the assignment granted to Kepler Cheuvreux, with registered offices at 112 avenue Kléber, 75116, Paris, and dealer code 1 008, on 4 August 2017 to act as an as independent intermediary (in accordance with the accepted market practice No.1, introduced by Consob resolution n. 16839 of 19 March 2009)  and sustain the stock’s liquidity on Italy’s Mercato Telematico Azionario – STAR segment, was renewed for a period that will end on 4th of September 2019  at the same terms and conditions established by the Board of Directors on 4 August 2017.

 

[1] Fair value of the portfolio at 30 June 2018
[2] ERV: estimated rental value at 30/06/2018 based on the valuations of the independent appraisers hired to appraise the real estate portfolio
[3] The forecasts include the estimated impact of the asset rotation policy.