Video: Westfield Olympic mall welcomes 5.5m visitors

By Paul Norman - Wednesday, August 15, 2012 9:32

Westfield said around 5.5m visits were made to its Stratford City shopping centre at east London’s Olympic Park during the two week 2012 Games as it posted a 31% rise in net profit to $800.1m in half year results to 30 June driven by a series of major disposals.

Westfield said the disposals had raised £10bn of capital for redeployment into “higher return opportunities”.

The shopping centre giant, which released video footage above of the Stratford City mall during the 2012 Games, is currently seeking to take on a multi-billion-pound redevelopment of Croydon’s Whitgift centre.

Funds from Operations (FFO) were $751.2m representing 32.8 cents per security, up 3.1% on a like-for-like basis.

During the first half, the group completed a number of transactions raising $4.8bn of gross proceeds, including the joint venture of 12 assets in the US and the divestment of 12 non-core assets.

Westfield Group Co-CEOs, Peter Lowy and Steven Lowy AM said: “In November 2010, we outlined a strategic plan that positioned the goup to generate greater shareholder value. The first step was the establishment of the Westfield Retail Trust (WRT) and since then we have implemented the strategic plan through a number of transactions. These results highlight the benefits of this strategy.”

Distribution for the six months was $558m representing 24.75 cents per security, an increase of 2.3% on the previous corresponding period.

During the period, the group commenced an on-market buyback of WDC securities. 

Return on contributed equity was 11.4%, on an annualised basis, for the period.

The group also raised and extended $3.3bn of debt facilities including a recent £450m public bond issuance in the UK. The group has a gearing ratio of 31.9% and available liquidity of $7.1bn.

For the half year, comparable net property income in local currency was up 2.5% in the US, up 3.3% in Australia/New Zealand and steady in the UK.

The operating performance saw income growth and comparable specialty sales growth in each region.

The portfolio at 30 June 2012 was 97.5% leased, with Australia/New Zealand over 99.5%, US at 92.7%, the UK at over 99% and Brazil at 95.8%.

For the half, comparable specialty retail sales were up 8.7% in the US, up 0.8% in Australia, up 1.1% in New Zealand and up 11.7% in Brazil.

“Our most recent highlight was the performance of Stratford City that was showcased to the world during the London Olympics. In total, approximately 5.5m visits were made to our centre in just over two weeks, giving the Group an unprecedented exposure to a global audience,” Steven Lowy said.

The group’s two London shopping malls are, this year, expected to attract around 60m customer visits spending some £1.8bn.

The group expects to commence between $1.25bn and $1.5bn of new developments in both 2012 and 2013.

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