Net profit (Group share) for the first half of 2002 progressed by 60.0% to â‚¬69.9 million, a per-share increase of 62.7% to â‚¬3.80.
The acceleration of the arbitrage programme that aims to optimise return on assets (ROA) resulted in increased proceeds from property sales (â‚¬220.1 million) and consolidated capital gains (â‚¬88.1 million) in the first half. The structure of operating expenses continued to improve with a further decline in the cost-to-income ratio (based on operating expenses excluding depreciation, provisions and charges rebilled to tenants), down from 30.2% in the first half of 2001 to 26.4% in the first half of 2002. Lower interest rates, a decrease in net financial debt to â‚¬1.3 billion and more active management of liquidities led to a 13.3% increase in net financial expense to â‚¬30.3 million. Pre-tax and after-tax cash flows on ordinary activities before disposals therefore increased by 13.9% and 12.8%, respectively, to â‚¬70.9 million and â‚¬51.6 million. On a per-share basis, pre-tax and after-tax cash flows on ordinary activities before disposals were up to â‚¬3.85 and â‚¬2.81, respectively, i.e. increases of 15.9% and 14.7% compared with the first half of 2001.
Consolidated rental income for the first half amounted to â‚¬129.9 million compared with â‚¬134.1 million in the first half of 2001. This decrease of 3.1% was due to the impact of the active disposal programme implemented in 2001. The operating conditions of the property stock (financial occupancy rate, rents on new leases and adjustment of ongoing leases) remained very satisfactory and led to a significant progression on a like-for-like basis in rental income of 5.7% excluding properties for sale.
As at 30 June 2002, the appraised value of all Group properties (based on a block valuation) amounted to â‚¬4.11 billion with unrealised capital gains amounting to â‚¬1.29 billion. On a like-for-like basis, the appraised value of all Group properties was up by 2.4% since 31 December 2001 and by 4.3% since 30 June 2001. Net asset value per share increased by 1.4% for the first half of 2002 and by 4.5% to â‚¬143.73 since 30 June 2001.
A controlled optimisation of properties
Since the beginning of the year, Gecina has successfully pursued a strategy aimed at reweighting its asset portfolio in favour of commercial property. As at 31 August 2002, the Group had commitments for the sale of 15 assets, mainly residential, representing a value of â‚¬80 million. The amount of assets sold could therefore total â‚¬400 million for the year 2002. At the same time, in early 2002, the Group implemented an active policy of investing in commercial property, with the acquisition of a fully refurbished office complex of 15,350 m2 in the 9th arrondissement of Paris in January, the launch of a new building programme for an office complex of 14,000 m2 in Lyon in May, and the acquisition of a 12,500 m2 office complex to be refurbished near the place VendÃ'me in Paris. These acquisitions and developments, together with the impending delivery of the CarrÃ©-Saint-Germain complex and the ongoing refurbishing of two office complexes, will enable Gecina to start operations in 2003 and 2004 on over 60,000 m2 of totally refurbished commercial property. It will thus meet the investment criterion it set itself a year ago for a gross yield of 7.5%.
The planned merger with SIMCO : a remarkable opportunity
According to the agreement signed on 7 August with Axa and CrÃ©dit Foncier de France concerning the acquisition of their stakes in Simco for a total of 52.6%, Gecina submitted a combined cash-and-share offer to acquire SimcoÂ's shares on 29 August 2002.
GecinaÂ's Board of Directors has examined the press release issued by Simco following its board meeting on 29 August. GecinaÂ's Board is delighted that the press release reflects the advantages of the merger and gives a positive analysis of the financial terms and conditions offerd by Gecina. The Board also took note that SimcoÂ's Board would appreciate further information and gave t