Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) has successfully completed the disposal of a portfolio of five shopping centres in France to the Joint Venture formed by URW, Crédit Agricole Assurances and La Francaise.
Christophe Cuvillier, Group CEO of URW, commented: “The closing of this transaction is a major milestone in the Group’s disposal strategy. In a very challenging environment, it demonstrates the quality of our assets and illustrates the trust of our partners in the management of URW to cope with the current situation and to generate future growth in the assets we operate. Today marks the beginning of a new strategic partnership formed with Crédit Agricole Assurances and La Française and we look forward to working and succeeding with them.”
The consortium of leading investors comprised of Crédit Agricole Assurances and La Française will hold 54.2% of the newly formed JV and URW 45.8%. The new JV now owns the following assets: Aéroville and So Ouest in the Paris region, Rennes Alma in Rennes, Toison d’Or in Dijon and Confluence in Lyon.
These centres have re-opened post the COVID-19 restrictions, showing encouraging footfall performance - with Alma in particular already at around 90% of pre-crisis levels - as well as, based on information from tenants, higher average baskets and conversion rates. The implied offer price for the assets at 100% is €2,032m, as announced on February 12. A syndicate of banks has funded the underwritten €1bn secured financing for the JV, with a 7-year maturity. In light of the COVID-19 crisis and reflecting URW’s confidence in the strength of these assets, the Group has made some adjustments to provide comfort to the co-investors. The total exposure for URW under these adjustments amounts at most to only 2.4% of the implied price of the assets at 100%:
- A rental guarantee of up to €45m has been granted to the JV to cover a possible shortfall in net rental income over the business plan to December 31, 2024. URW’s net maximum exposure under the guarantee is €24.4m;
- A participative loan and earn-out mechanism have been implemented, with a maximum amount at risk of €24.5m and a potential earn-out to URW of €20m should the returns to investors be lower or exceed the agreed levels.