Annual Results 2020
Vastned publishes solid results in very challenging circumstances
Highlights FY 2020
- Strategy update: Vastned will optimise and concentrate property portfolio towards mixed-use city centre portfolio;Reinier Walta nominated as new CEO
- Direct result FY 2020 € 1.85 per share vs. € 2.03 per share in FY 2019
- Decrease in direct result 2020 vs. 2019 caused by impact of COVID-19
- Payment arrangements in relation to COVID-19 agreed for virtually entire property portfolio due to intensive contacts with tenants
- Relatively high rent collection of 90% as at 31 December 2020 for FY 2020 (95% adjusted for waivers) due to tailored arrangements with tenants
- Occupancy rate slightly decreased during the year to 96.5% at year-end 2020, compared to 98.0% at year-end 2019
- Like-for-like gross rental growth was 0.4%, corrected for rent waivers due to COVID-19, especially as a result of positive effect of reletting of Rue de Rivoli 118-120 in Paris
- Relatively limited 5.2%* value decrease of property portfolio compared to 31 December 2019, leading to indirect result of € 4.26 negative per share
- Loan-to-value ratio 43.0% as at 31 December 2020, within 35%-45% range
- Good liquidity position; Vastned remains well within bank covenants
- Dividend proposal for FY 2020 € 1.73 per share, to be paid out in full on 6 May 2021
- Due to continuing uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the government measures to control it, Vastned does not issue any outlook for the direct result for 2021 at this time.
* Excluding capex and divestments
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The outbreak and spreading of COVID-19 and the measures taken by the governments to limit its spreading have had a major impact on everyone. I am proud of the Vastned team, who have worked very hard in these challenging circumstances to cope with the situation and find appropriate solutions together with the tenants. The goal has always been and still is to do this together with our tenants, which is in the long-term interests of all parties.
Our high-quality property portfolio has clearly proven itself during the COVID-19 crisis. The occupancy rate remained high at 96.5% at year-end 2020. The property portfolio in France is virtually fully let with an occupancy rate of 98.5% and in Spain the portfolio is 100% let. The property portfolios in the Netherlands and Belgium are 95.2% and 96.2% let respectively. Due to the high quality of the portfolio, there was a relatively limited 5.2% decrease in the value of the property portfolio over 2020 under very challenging economic conditions.
In 2020, the Vastned team concluded tailored agreements with the tenants. In this context, Vastned granted € 4.7 million in rent waivers in 2020 and deferred rent payments totalling € 1.0 million. Consequently, the direct result for the year 2020 was lower than in 2019. The 90% collection rate for the year 2020 was relatively high thanks to these tailored agreements with tenants.
It is clear that the retail sector is undergoing a transformation, driven by changing consumer behaviour and the growth of e-commerce. The outbreak and spreading of COVID-19 and the government measures to contain it have further accelerated this development. We anticipate that tourism in European cities will recover over time. We also expect that despite the above developments, the historic city centres will remain popular and visitors will return once the pandemic is over. We have also seen in 2020 that people like to come to city centres as soon as they are allowed to. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the focus on space and sustainability in cities, but the long-term trend of urbanisation will continue in Europe and the rest of the world, also because that is where the economic activity takes place. City centres remain attractive for shopping, working, living and leisure. Governments also support this with policy.
Vastned is responding to these market trends by updating its strategy, in which the objective remains to generate stable and predictable long-term results. Vastned aims to achieve this objective by optimising and concentrating the property portfolio, a strategy in which greater diversification of tenant types and the creation of a city centre portfolio with mixed-use properties are important pillars, in conjunction with increasing the cost efficiency of the organisation. In this way, Vastned wants to create long-term value in a sustainable way for all its stakeholders.
Based on the direct result of € 1.85 per share in 2020, we plan to pay out € 1.73 per share in dividend for 2020. As no interim dividend was paid in 2020, this amount will be paid in full as cash dividend in May 2021.
In 2021 too, our focus will remain on maintaining the high occupancy rate of the property portfolio, supported by the tailored agreements we have made with our tenants. At present, the countries in which Vastned operates are in (partial) lockdown because of COVID-19. In view of the uncertainty about how long the present situation and its impact will persist, it is not possible at this time to assess Vastned's result for 2021. For this reason, Vastned does not issue any forecast for the direct result for the year 2021 at this time.
Vastned is a European publicly listed property company (Euronext Amsterdam: VASTN) focusing on the best property in the popular shopping areas of selected European cities with a historic city centre where shopping, living, working and leisure meet. Vastned's property clusters have a strong tenant mix of international and national retailers, food & beverage entrepreneurs, residential tenants, and office tenants. The property portfolio had a size of approximately € 1.5 billion as at year-end 2020.