“Citycon’s operational performance remained solid during the third quarter and total net rental income grew to EUR 164 million in January-September 2019. Like-for-like net rental income continued to grow driven by Finland and Norway. It should be noted that the like-for-like development in Finland continued to be positive after several subdued years. EPRA earnings remained solid and the EPRA earnings per share was EUR 0.618 in January-September 2019 and the profit for the period increased compared to prior year. The occupancy rate remained close to the previous year at 95.3% at the end of September 2019 illustrating the stability of our business model. We were pleased that total tenant sales increased by 4% and total footfall by 5% during January-September 2019.
The Citycon team carried out a strategic review during the past quarter in order to define the company’s short and long-term focus areas. As a result, Citycon held its Capital Markets Day 2019 in September and discussed its short-term performance improvement plans and long-term mixed-use development potential. Citycon’s immediate focus is to maximize the value of the existing assets. As noted previously, we have a new organization in place and have taken concrete steps to harmonize our processes across the Nordics.
Citycon has a great stable business model with assets in unique and growing urban locations that offer great densification potential. Our strategy is to become a mixed-use urban real estate investor and owner. We will significantly increase our residential footprint by densifying the urban areas around our assets. Citycon’s development team was strengthened in August with our new Chief Development Officer Erik Lennhammar and he and our development team have started the work to formalize our residential and densification strategy.
Strengthening the balance sheet is a near-term key priority for Citycon. The pressure on valuations has also contributed to our slightly elevated loan-to-value ratio, which stood at 49.6% at the end of September 2019. Currently, we have begun to take concrete measures to defend our investment grade credit ratings with a stronger balance sheet.
After a solid January-September and following the completed disposals of two shopping centres in Finland, we have narrowed our guidance further. We now expect EPRA EPS to be in the range of EUR 0.79-0.82 for the full year 2019.”
Source: Citycon's Interim Report Q3/2019