Freeport completes extension of outlet center in Portugal (PT)

Freeport, a Carlyle Europe Real Estate portfolio company and a leading developer and operator of outlet malls in Europe, announced the completion of an extension to its Freeport Outlet Alcochete retail centre in Portugal,. The extension adds a further 1,510 m² of gross lettable area (GLA) to the center across ten units, increasing the total GLA dedicated to retail to 42,934 m², of which 98% is occupied.

Eight of the ten new units have already been let to high quality, international tenants including Helly Hansen, Claire's, PreNatal and Dockers with the remaining two units currently under offer.

Freeport Alcochete is the largest outlet center in Europe with over 140 shops plus 20 restaurants and restaurants and a major exhibition space. It is located in Alcochete, which is a short distance from the centre of Lisbon, near the Vasco da Gama bridge on the south side of the river Tejo. In addition to Portugal, Freeport owns outlet centers in the Czech Republic, and Sweden.

The company also recently launched a new business, Freeport Retail Ltd, to provide asset management and consultancy services to developers, investors and asset owners in the retail sector internationally.

Freeport has seen significant success in its performance since its acquisition by Carlyle five years ago, growing revenues and income every year since, and the full year results for its financial year ended June 2011 showed its best ever profitability, with a 22% increase in net income over 2010 and year-on-year growth since acquisition of over 30%. This has been driven by asset management initiatives that have led to record levels of occupancy and income across all centers, with particularly strong results at Kungsbacka in Sweden, which increased net income by 35% in 2011. Average occupancy across the three centers stands at over 98%.

Iestyn Roberts, CEO of Freeport, commented: "This extension to our Portugal centre comes in response to high levels of demand for space at the site and has allowed us to bring more, high quality tenants to the scheme as we continue to build on the compelling retail offer that we provide to our customers. We believe that there is currently an exciting growth opportunity in the European outlet mall sector, which has shown resilience throughout the prolonged economic slowdown and increased demand from occupiers. We intend to capitalize on this trend through proactive management of our portfolio, such as this creation of new space in Portugal, while also considering opportunities to acquire further assets."

Source: FTI

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