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Shopping Centres

Westfield owner to ‘significantly reduce’ exposure in US

The news follows the company’s F2 2020 results which showed net rental income for shopping centres fell by 25.9% to €1.69bn (£1.4bn) from €2.29bn (£2bn) the previous year

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) has revealed it will “significantly reduce” its financial exposure to the US and instead focus on its UK real estate.

The news follows the company’s F2 2020 results which showed net rental income for shopping centres fell by 25.9% to €1.69bn (£1.4bn) from €2.29bn (£2bn) the previous year.

The company reported €11.4bn (£10bn) in cash and available credit facilities at year end.

The group recorded only 70 normal trading days and 93 days with the centres effectively closed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Additionally, taking into account the current “operating environment” and its commitment to deleveraging, the group announced it will suspend the payment of a dividend for its fiscal years 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Commenting on the results, Jean-Marie Tritant, CEO, said: “ With restrictions in place across almost all of our markets we have realistic expectations for 2021 but are encouraged by the way footfall and sales bounced back strongly whenever restrictions were eased or lifted last year.

“The retail landscape is changing and our centres are proving to be attractive for high potential sectors such as innovative automotive, digitally native vertical brands and entertainment.”

He added: “Operationally, we continue to deliver innovative solutions for tenants and consumers, including the drive @ Westfield online purchase pick up programme, rolled out in all of our US locations and 11 European centres.”

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