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May given power to begin Brexit; Unibail-Rodamco logs FY'16 results

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May given power to begin Brexit; Unibail-Rodamco logs FY'16 results

* Members of the U.K.'s House of Commons have voted overwhelmingly in favor of a bill that would give Prime Minister Theresa May the authority to trigger Britain's departure from the European Union. Once Article 50 is triggered, Britain and the EU will have two years to negotiate the terms of Brexit.

May vowed during a Jan. 17 speech that she would also seek to agree a comprehensive new free trade deal with the bloc during that period, although many European politicians have cast doubt on whether that would be feasible in such a timeframe.

* Unibail-Rodamco SE's full-year 2016 recurring EPS totaled €11.24, up 10.4% from 2015 recurring EPS, as adjusted for 2015 disposals. Net rental income grew 5.2% year over year to roughly €1.53 billion. On a like-for-like basis, net rental income rose 2.4%.

The group also surpassed its recurring EPS guidance of €11.00 to €11.20, with growth from its 2015 reported recurring EPS at 7.5%. Looking ahead, Unibail forecasts recurring EPS of between €11.80 and €12.00 for 2017.

Meanwhile, during an earnings call, Unibail-Rodamco pointed to a combination of security concerns in France and unseasonable weather in Europe as factors preventing it from achieving stronger growth last year.

UK and Ireland

* According to The (U.K.) Times, Tesco could be forced to offload more than 600 stores in the U.K. unless it can convince regulators that its merger with Booker will not affect competition. The publication noted that there are 635 Tesco stores located less than 500 meters from Booker's Premier, Londis and Budgens stores, igniting fears about the impact this could have on consumers, suppliers and rivals.

* Assura Plc said it has a pipeline of asset acquisitions and developments in solicitors' hands worth approximately £103 million, following its £48.8 million worth of acquisitions in the third quarter of last year.

* Developers are seeking planning approval from the Manchester City Council for two new Citylabs science buildings worth £60 million, Property Week reported. The Citylabs 2.0 building will offer 85,000 square feet of space, with completion expected in the summer of 2018. Citylabs 3.0 will span 100,000 square feet and is due to be finished in 2020, with work on it beginning next year.

* According to the latest JLL Hotel Investor Outlook report, London will experience a surge in hotel investments this year, CoStar U.K. reported. The rise is predicted due to an increase in overall investment volumes expected across the Europe and the Middle East regions. Hotel investment in the two regions is anticipated to rise to up to approximately US$23 billion this year from US$20.5 billion in 2016.

* House prices in the U.K. are growing at the lowest rate since November 2015, after rising only 0.2% in January, weaker compared to a 0.8% increase in December 2016, PW reported, citing Nationwide. Home prices for January were 4.3% higher than a year ago, down from an annual increase of 4.5% just the month before. Nationwide is forecasting a modest 2% increase in average house prices this year due low borrowing costs and a lack of supply, according to the report.

* Hibernia REIT Plc entered into a five-year partnership agreement with Iconic Offices to establish a serviced office and co-working business. Under the agreement, Hibernia will be responsible for the property and Iconic will manage the business operations.

Additionally, Iconic will take up 21,000 square feet over three floors at Clanwilliam Court in Dublin and has pre-leased 16,000 square feet of space at Two Dockland Central in the city.

* Overall returns from the commercial property investment sector in Ireland grew by 13.6% in 2016, compared to 25.5% the year before, The Irish Times reported, citing JLL's latest index. Growth was captured across all three sectors, albeit at a slower year-over-year rate, with industrial recording the best performance over the year of a 17.9% firming, followed by retail at 7.2% and offices at 6.5%.

Germany and Austria

* A South Korean investment consortium acquired a majority stake in the Deutsche Telekom office building in Bonn from German asset manager KGAL for over €200 million, Property Investor Europe reported. The 80,000-square-meter building is being remodeled and let on a long-term lease to the telecommunications company. KGAL will continue to provide asset management services for the building, the report noted, citing a company release.

* IMMOFINANZ AG sold approximately 4.5 million of ordinary shares in BUWOG AG through a private placement for roughly €97.4 million, representing around 4.5% of BUWOG's issued share capital. Proceeds from the sale will be used for debt reduction and general corporate purposes, according to a release.

* Meanwhile, BUWOG held the topping out ceremony for the first phase of the RIVUS QUARTUS scheme in Vienna's Liesing district. The first phase will deliver 100 apartments and 30 condominiums in the fall of 2017.

Poland and Czech Republic

* Echo Polska Properties bought four shopping centers in Poland from Blackstone-managed funds for a total price tag of €166.6 million, PIE reported, with the transaction expected to be finalized in April. The purchased portfolio comprised the 23,039-square-meter Galeria Twierdza shopping center and an adjacent plot in Klodzko, the 23,785-square-meter Galeria Twierdza shopping center in Zamosc, the 16,003-square-meter Galeria Tecza shopping center in Kalisz, and the 25,629-square-meter Wzorcownia shopping center in Wloclawek, according to the report.

* Pbb Deutsche Pfandbriefbank loaned €108 million to a company managed by CBRE Global Investors to finance the acquisition of the Letnany shopping center in Prague. The shopping center, among other facilities, offers 63,430 square meters of retail space, providing 160 units and 3,550 square meters of office space. Tesco's flagship store in the Czech Republic is the anchor tenant of the retail complex.

Sweden

Castellum AB is planning on purchasing the Sabbatsberg 24 office building in Stockholm for approximately 800 million Swedish kronor. The purchase rests on the approval of the Stockholm City Council who will convene in a meeting March 20.

Middle East

Average rents for grade A and B office space in Abu Dhabi are predicted to drop by up to 15% during the year due to weak demand, Arabian Business reported, citing Core Savills. But prime grade A+ office rental rates are expected to perform well due to a shortage in supply and an increasing volume of grade B offices.

Other Geographies

InterContinental Hotels Group Plc's first hotel in Laos is open for business. The 197-room Crowne Plaza Vientiane is the first internationally branded upscale hotel in Laos, the company said.

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The Daily Dose Europe, Real Estate edition, is updated as of 6:30 a.m. London time. Some links require a subscription. Articles and links are correct as of publication time.

Celestyn Wong contributed to this report.