Property group Nepi Rockcastle lifts quarterly earnings by 21%

NEPI Rockcastle logo.
PHOTO: Supplied
CAPE TOWN – Nepi Rockcastle, the JSE and Euronext in Amsterdam listed property group, said on Friday that a strong performance saw earnings rise by about a fifth in the three months to end-March, 2019.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation increased by 21 percent to €92.2 million (R1.48 billion), compared with the same time last year.

Nepi, which mainly owns shopping malls in central and eastern Europe, was earlier this month cleared of false or misleading financial reporting in 2017 by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA). 

This was after Viceroy Securities had issued a report last November claiming inconsistencies in its financial reporting. An FSCA investigation into possible prohibited trading practices by third parties is still open.

The group said on Friday that it had strengthened the portfolio positioning by extending successful retail concepts in the region, such as Monki in Poland, Xiaomi in Romania, and GAP and Ted Baker, in the portfolio.

Its loan to value ratio was 32 percent, below a 35 percent target.

The guidance released in February of a 6 percent increase in distributable earnings per share compared with 2018 remained on track. The tenant turnover on a like-for-like property portfolio was up by 6.8 percent, compared with the first quarter of 2018.

The occupancy rate across the portfolio was 96.3 percent at March 31, slightly lower than the 97.2 percent at December 31, 2018, due to refurbishment and extension works, management said in a statement.

The occupancy rate increased to 97.1 percent when part of these works were completed this month.

In April, the sale of its 50 percent stake in The Office Cluj-Napoca property was agreed and the selling price included a 1.4 percent premium to book value. An open tender process to sell the Romanian office portfolio was started, so the group could focus on its strategy of core dominant retail properties.

The group sat with a strong liquidity portfolio at the end of the quarter, with 155m in cash, 211m in available unsecured revolving facilities and 227m listed securities.