CEO Marcel Kokkeel:
The first half of the year 2017 was solid with continued strong like-for-like net rental income growth in Sweden and Norway. Like-for-like performance remained weak in Finland as most of Citycon’s stronger shopping centres in the Helsinki area were under (re)development. Overall, like-for-like net rental income growth including Kista Galleria (50%) totalled 1.6%. Supported by strong net rental income and tight cost control EPRA Earnings per share increased by 6% and we have hence specified our guidance for 2017. We expect the retail sentiment in Finland to continue to improve especially in the Helsinki area as the economy has started to pick up.
A clear highlight of the quarter was the opening of the second part of the Iso Omena extension in Espoo. Since the first opening in August 2016, footfall has increased by 28%, even though the new metro line is yet to start running. Especially our new restaurant concept M.E.E.T (Meet, Eat, Enjoy, Together) has been well received and Iso Omena was ranked the most recommended and enjoyable shopping centre in the Helsinki area by Taloustutkimus research company.
Recycling of capital and non-core disposals remain a top priority for management. During the first half of the year we have divested assets altogether for approximately EUR 118 million and expect to be able to divest more in the coming year.
Source: Citycon's Half-Yearly Report, January-June 2017