Between 2020 and 2021 the global pandemic caused by Covid-19 impacted IGD’s business significantly, interrupting the prior development path which had led to an average yearly increase in Funds from Operations of 16.5% between 2015 and 2019 and of more than 33% progression in the dividend over the same period.
In 2020 and 2021 the “non-essential” retail businesses comprising IGD’s portfolio were forced to close for up to 131 days. The Group recorded a direct impact attributable to Covid of around €27 million (in addition to other indirect effects) and decided to reduce investments and dividends in order to strengthen its financial structure.
For this reason, in August 2020 IGD communicated to the market that the objectives of the 2019-2021 Strategic Plan should no longer be considered current, although the strategic guidelines aimed at consolidating the leadership of its shopping centers in their respective catchment areas remain current.
In such an unfavorable environment, however, IGD’s business model proved to be particularly resilient: the occupancy rate remained high, 2021 rent collection is above 94% and shoppers have brought good results with tenant sales almost in line with the period June-December 2019 (with the almost complete cancellation of the restrictions previously introduced), confirming the appeal of our shopping centers and, more generally, the key role that in-person shopping still has.
The pandemic also triggered the acceleration of some, pre-existing macro-trends:
IGD Group has therefore adjusted its operational strategy by focusing the Business Plan on the adaptation of physical spaces and merchandising mix, as well as on the continuation of its commitment to reduce the overall carbon footprint plan.
“The Business Plan 2022-2024 shows that we are strongly committed to ESG factors, to investing in the innovation and digitalization of our shopping centers as we look to the future and prepare them for the new market challenges. At the same time, we have set important economic-financial goals for ourselves, resuming payment of dividends to our shareholders while also reducing financial leverage, as well as consolidating the investment grade profile we have achieved”
Claudio Albertini, IGD’s CEO
The Plan is articulated on 4 operational areas: