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Westfield mall owner sees Paris Olympics boost to earnings

Published 08/02/2024, 08:08
Updated 08/02/2024, 10:01
© Reuters.
URW
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By Helen Reid

LONDON (Reuters) -Westfield mall owner Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield sees the Paris Olympics and Paralympics boosting its earnings for 2024, it said on Thursday, with several of its Viparis convention centres hosting events over the Games.

Viparis, owned equally by URW and by the Paris Ile-de-France Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry, operates venues including Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, where the handball, table tennis, volleyball, and weightlifting will take place.

Its Palais des Congrès de Paris venue will host the International Olympic Committee and the main press centre for the Games, URW said.

URW sees its adjusted recurring earnings per share for 2024 increasing to between 9.65 and 9.8 euros ($10.56), up from 9.62 euros in 2023, partly because of increased footfall over the Olympics.

The Games "will further boost C&E (convention and exhibition) performance in 2024 given summer is usually a quieter period", URW's Chief Financial Officer Fabrice Mouchel told analysts on a call.

The Paris Olympics will run from July 26 to Aug. 11, a time when Parisians typically flee the city to holiday at the coast. The Paralympics are set to take place from Aug. 28 to Sept. 8.

URW reinstated a dividend payment after announcing vacancy rates in URW shopping centres dropped to 5.4% in 2023, back to pre-pandemic levels, and group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) also recovered to 2019 levels, hitting 2.199 billion euros.

Shares in URW gained more than 5% on the news of a 2.50 euro per share payout for 2024, its first dividend since 2020.

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URW is also growing its advertising business, charging brands to be featured on screens and in pop-up spaces in its shopping centres. Its retail media revenues increased to 121.3 million euros in 2023, up 15% on a like-for-like basis.

URW said Westfield Rise, its in-house retail media agency for Europe, would generate 75 million euros in net margin this year, up from 53.3 million euros in 2023.

($1 = 0.9279 euros)

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