Westfield Holdings Limited (ASX:WSF) today announced that it expects to achieve an after tax profit for the 2004 financial year of around $327 million, an increase of approximately 13% on last year.
Westfield made this full year forecast today when releasing its half-yearly profit result for the six months to 31 December 2003, which included:
- Trading revenue of $667 million, an increase of 23.0% on the previous corresponding period;
- An after tax profit of $173 million, up 28.0% on the previous corresponding period;
- Earnings per share of 30.68 cents, up 27.6% on the same period last year; and
- An interim dividend of 15.34 cents per share, up 27.6% on the previous period which will be 50% franked.
Westfield manages 116 shopping centres comprising 17,900 retail outlets and over 9.0 million square metres of retail space. The value of shopping centre assets under management is currently $32.0 billion. Westfield now has a future development pipeline of $7.0 billion, the largest in the company’s history, with $1.3 billion of projects added since June 2003. Of the $7.0 billion pipeline, $1.9 billion of projects are currently under construction and $5.1 billion of projects are expected to commence in the next five years. The company continues to work on additional projects valued in excess of $5 billion.
Westfield Managing Directors Peter Lowy and Steven Lowy said all parts of the business are performing well with the last six months seeing increases in both the management portfolio and development program. The company has been concentrating its efforts on expanding the development program globally, following the major expansion of the portfolio in recent years. This $7.0 billion development program is expected to provide the basis for growth in assets under management and profit over the coming years.
The 2004 financial year forecast represents:
- Business income of around $245 million, an increase of 21% over the prior year;
- Earnings per share of around 57.8 cents, an increase of around 13% on the previous corresponding period; and
- Return on equity of 20.0% compared with 19.5% for the previous corresponding period.
The company continued to expand its global business over the period. Highlights include:
- Completion of Westfield Trust’s (ASX:WFT) $1.9 billion acquisition of AMP Shopping Centre Trust (ASX:ART) resulting in WFT acquiring an interest in an additional eight properties;
- The addition of six new shopping centres to Westfield’s management portfolio at Mt Gravatt (Australia), Kotara (Australia), Northbridge (USA), Sarasota Square (USA), Louis Joliet (USA), and following development completion during the period, North Lakes (Australia);
- The completion of $400 million of development projects including Oakridge (USA), Capital Mall (USA), North Lakes (Australia) and Whitford City (Australia); and
- The commencement of $750 million of development projects including San Francisco Centre (USA), Parkway (USA), Riccarton (New Zealand), and The Pines (Australia).