For more information please see the press release
The Chief Executive Officer’s point of view on the first nine month of 2019
the results posted in the first nine months of 2019 show that we are firmly on the path outlined in our three-year Business Plan which will take us through 2021.
We followed our commercial and asset management policies effectively and continued to invest in innovating our shopping centers and satisfying visitors’ new expectations: over the past months we worked on providing greater choice in the food courts, a greater range of services and a more widespread use of technology which can make the entire experience more interactive and informed.
If we look closer at the third quarter, we can see that retailers’ sales showed gradual improvement compared to prior quarters of the year, despite the adverse weather conditions, particularly a very mild February and a rainy May, which impacted, above all, clothing sales. Footfalls fell slightly. In the first nine months of 2019 retailers’ sales were basically stable with an encouraging increase in the average ticket. Occupancy continued to be high at 96.4%.
Compared to Italy, where the economy is still stagnant and consumption lackluster, the conditions we encountered in Romania were decidedly more upbeat which allowed us to make the most of the restyling done and the commercial repositioning implemented for Winmarkt, as shown in the performance of the key indicators at 30 September: occupancy reached 97.5%, the average upside on renewed leases was 3.3% and rental income rose 2.7%.
The awareness that market conditions are challenging in Italy led us to find ways to support traffic, particularly in our portfolio’s strategic shopping centers, through an important institutional communication campaign “I’m possible. The place where everything can happen”.
The consolidated results recorded in the first nine months of the year, like an 11.0% increase in core business EBITDA (+2.0% adj. ex IFRS16) and a 5.6% rise in FFO, confirm that IGD is fully in line with the direction indicated in the Plan.
We mentioned our continuous commitment to commercial and asset management. We also worked, however, on financial management and continued with our goal to further optimize the cost of debt which came to 2.4% compared to 2.67% in the first nine months of 2018. We also continued to carefully monitor the Loan-to-Value, which reached 47.8%, an improvement compared to the 48.2% recorded in the first half.
After the close of the quarter, on 22 October the rating agency Fitch assigned a new rating, BBB- with a stable outlook: key to our future liability management activities.
I’m pleased, lastly, to note that for the second year in a row our Annual Report received the EPRA Gold Award, while the Corporate Sustainability Report was awarded the EPRA Gold Award for the fifth time. Being recognized for excellence in our reporting based on the criteria and methods recognized by EPRA, the European Real Estate Association, is not only the source of great pride for all the people in IGD who worked on preparing the reports, but is also proof that the work we have done on clear and transparent communication make IGD an “open book” for all our stakeholders.
Next year, in honor of the tenth edition of our Corporate Sustainability Report, we will organize an event during which we will have an enlightening debate with different stakeholders and sector players about today’s biggest sustainability issues.
As always, we are happy to share our point of view and compare our experiences and opinions with others in order to fulfill our role in an increasingly more responsible way.