CITYCON OYJ Press Release 12 September 2013 at 14:15, 2013-09-12 13:15 CEST (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --
Citycon Oyj considers that social and community engagement is a key growth factor. The company is well on its way to implementing several value-added initiatives in its Kista Galleria shopping centre, in Stockholm, with the addition of Kista Idea City, an extensive, state-of-the-art digital library scheduled to open to the public in August 2014. The library is a key element of Citycon’s on-going programme to nurture stronger community ties, apply principles of sustainability, and further strengthen the financial performance of its largest shopping centre. The company acquired Kista Galleria in January of this year together with the Canadian CPPIB. Investments in the project will total 10 million euros.
A joint investment with the City of Stockholm, the 2,400-square-metre library will feature the latest digital technology in addition to traditional books, offering its visitors access to various tablet and other computers, interactive services, and a café.
This vital community resource joins Kista Galleria’s wet-waste conversion system, which is already in use to collect the wet waste from the food court and process it into biogas – producing enough fuel each month to power about 12,000 km of the local bus system’s operations. Working in close collaboration with the City of Stockholm and Stockholm Water, this environmentally and financially beneficial project is one means of improving Citycon’s sustainability performance.
Citycon CEO Marcel Kokkeel says: ‘The digital library and the waste-reprocessing system are just two examples of Citycon’s firm commitment to adding value – financial, social, and environmental – to our assets throughout the region. We focus on organic growth and internal redevelopment in easily accessible urban locations that are close to where people live and work. This approach enables us to improve footfall substantially, and to maintain very strong like for like NRI performance and a stable occupancy rate.’
Today, Citycon held a Capital Market Day event in Stockholm, at which Kokkeel explained the company’s strategy. ‘Our recent moves of acquiring Kista Galleria and selectively divesting assets with a valuation premium have led to a much more balanced portfolio, with 90% of the company’s assets in AAA-rated countries. This enables Citycon to concentrate on further improving our business throughout the region,’ he says.
The balance sheet has been significantly strengthened through further diversification of financing sources in 2013, with the company’s equity ratio climbing to 42.7% in the first half, up from the 37.8% full-year 2012 figure. This follows a successful 200-million-euro rights issue in March 2013 and the subsequent, equally well-received issuing of a 500-million-euro unsecured seven year Eurobond in June.
Citycon Oyj is currently the only Nordic real-estate company with corporate investment-grade credit ratings: BBB- from Standard and Poor’s and a Moody’s Baa3. Explains Eero Sihvonen, Citycon CFO and Executive Vice President: ‘Our on-going financial strategy is yielding positive results, including the building of long-term relationships with quality local and international investors and with top-tier joint-venture partners. The rights issue has enabled us to reduce leverage permanently and qualify for investment-grade ratings, while the Eurobond issue has helped to extend average loan maturity, improve liquidity, and lower average interest rates. ’
‘As we continue to implement this strategy, we look forward to further increases in turnover, EPRA operating profits, and EPRA earnings in 2013, as specified in our guidance,’ Sihvonen concludes.
Citycon Oyj (NASDAQ OMX: CTY1S) is the leading owner and manager of urban grocery anchored shopping centres in the Nordic and Baltic region, managing assets that total approximately 3.2 billion euros and with market capitalisation of more than a billion euros (both as of June 2013).
For further information, please contact:
Marcel Kokkeel, CEO, tel. +358 20 766 4521 or +358 40 154 6760
Eero Sihvonen, CFO and Executive Vice President, tel. +358 20 766 4459 or + 358 50 557 9137
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