Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield leaves Covid years behind with full recovery
Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s 2022 results this week were “excellent” and were all about “confirming the end of any Covid effect on our business,” the French giant that owns the Westfield malls chain said.
It added that “tenant sales and rent collection returned to pre-pandemic levels and we delivered consistent improvement in operating metrics across all regions”.
The extent of the recovery from Covid can be seen from the headline figures. Net rental income was €2.26 billion. This was up 29.1%, or 27.4% on a like-for-like basis. And while the company has a variety of different property types, shopping centres are the biggest part of its business with net rental income here of €2 billion, up 24% or 21.5% on a like-for-like basis.
EBITDA rose 30.2% to €2.2 billion and the recurring net result was 33.2% ahead at €1.339 billion.
Importantly, tenant sales were running at 103% of pre-pandemic levels (2019) with the US at 108% and Europe at 100%. These were significant milestones and really underlined the fact that the company — and retail in general — has bounced back post-pandemic.
Another sign of this was the reduction in shopping centre vacancies which were running at 6.5% compared to 8.9% in mid 2021. However, it's not quite business as usual yet with pre-pandemic vacancies being only 5.4%.
The company also reported a €1.9 billion debt reduction as it has been selling off non-core operations in the US and Europe.
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