Unibail-Rodamco, Europe’s largest listed commercial property company, revealed on Wednesday its full year net profit rose 8.3% to €1.07bn (£800m) last year from €986m in 2013.
Growth at the Paris-based group was driven by strong like-for-like growth in shopping centres and offices, project deliveries in 2013, the acquisition of a stake in CentrO in May 2014, and a record-low cost of debt of 2.6%.
Last year the group bid to make its first entry into the UK market with a play for Lend Lease’s 30% stake in shopping mecca Bluewater, but was beaten to the prime asset by Land Securities. It is, however, believed to remain keen on a first acquisition in the UK.
The company’s recurring EPS for the full year 2014 increased to €10.92 from €10.22.
Net rental income for the full year 2014 increased 8.4% to €1.47bn from €1.35bn the previous year. On a like-for-like basis, 2014 net rental income grew 3.9%.
The group will propose to its annual general meeting to declare a dividend of €9.60 per share in cash for 2014. This represents an increase of 7.9% from 2013, and an 88% pay-out ratio of net recurring result, up from 87% last year.
For 2015, the group expects the underlying recurring earnings per share to grow by between 6% and 8%. As a consequence of the 2014 disposals, and as a result of the further disposals the group plans to make in 2015, recurring earnings are expected to reach €10.15 to €10.35 per share in 2015.
For the 2016-2019 period, the combination of healthy like-for-like growth prospects, the streamlining of the group’s portfolio, deliveries from the development pipeline and the protected cost of borrowing, led the group to raise the outlook for the compound annual growth rate of its recurring earnings per share, from between 5% and 7% previously, to between 6% and 8% growth.
Shares dropped a fraction yesterday to 244.1 cents.