Article posted on : 12/03/2021

2020 annual results: Société de la Tour Eiffel shows resilience in a crisis situation

12/03/2021

– The Board of Directors of Société de la Tour Eiffel, meeting on 11 March 2021, approved the annual financial statements as at 31 December 2020. The limited review procedures for these accounts have been completed and the corresponding reports are being issued.

Bruno Meyer, Deputy Managing Director of Société de la Tour Eiffel: “Despite the global pandemic and the economic crisis, the 2020 financial year remains positive with sustained operational activity despite several lockdowns: rental successes, continuation of the development plan, roll‐out of the disposal plan, and significant financing obtained from our main shareholders. Faced with the uncertainties of the period, we are resolutely pursuing our roadmap for growth while preparing for the challenges that are bound to arise in 2021. Tenants satisfaction and the construction of sustainable quality cash flows remain our priorities and the key factors for our success.

 

Demonstrating endurance facing the Covid-19 crisis…
  • 96% of rents collected in 2020
  • €4.7m in new leases signed
  • A stable asset value (+0.3%) at €1.87bn
  • €76m of projects handed over in 2020 out of an investment pipeline of €96m
  • €59m in disposals carried out as part of our strategic refocusing on 100% Office property
  • A CSR performance maintained in the core property portfolio (74% of buildings certified)

 

… An efficient model…
  • EPRA earnings per share: €2.4
  • Recurring cash‐flow per share: €2.3
  • Consolidated net profit: €10.7m (vs. €1.4m)
  • Net capital gain on disposals: €15.2m
  • Going‐concern NAV (NTA) per share: €53.0 (+1.6%)
  • NAV Triple Net EPRA per share: €55.0 (+1.4%)
  • Net Initial Yield EPRA topped‐up: 4.5%

 

… Backed by its shareholders
  • Improvement of the financial structure: issue of perpetual subordinated bonds (PSB) for €180m and return of the LTV ratio in the strategic objective to 39.0% (vs. 49.0% at 31 December 2019)
  • Adaptation to the Covid‐19 crisis: Proposed 2020 dividend stable at €2.0 per share

 

With the Covid‐19 epidemic as background, the Group first sought to ensure the safety and health of its teams, tenants,  customers,  service  providers  and  suppliers.  The  measures  implemented  were  mainly  designed  to  ensure the proper operation and safety of the buildings, and continuing the Company’s business using teleworking.

An ongoing impact assessment process of this unprecedented situation has been set up. As at 31 December 2020, the impacts of the epidemic were deemed to be limited due to the sustainability of the operations and the office buildings portfolio class.

 

96% of rents collected in 2020

As of the date of this press release, out of a total of €89.3m in invoiced rents in 2020, 96.3% had been collected, demonstrating the quality of the rental base and the close proximity that the property company maintains with its customers through its internalized property and rental management model.

The Group spontaneously implemented support measures for tenants most likely to experience difficulties (in particular those whose activities have been closed by administrative decisions as well as for tenants of modest sizes). For all of these tenants, the rent receivable representing nearly €6.8m in 2Q20 was unilaterally broken down into monthly instalments and carried over without any penalty to the second half of 2020.

As at 31 December 2020, this Q2‐related receivable broke down as follows:

  • €6.0m had been collected;
  • €0.5m remained to be collected;
  • €0.3 million gave rise to rent‐free periods in return for an extension of the lease term.

In order to better monitor the risk profile of its tenants, Société de la Tour Eiffel uses the Coface and Credit Safe databases. This monitoring shows that 84% of the rental base is made up of tenants in the two  best  categories (low or very low risk). This rating remains relatively stable to date compared with the forecast made in June 2020 and tends to demonstrate the resilience of the rental base of the portfolio.

 

A strategy of 100% certified offices, predominantly multi‐tenant

As at 31 December 2020, the value of the property portfolio amounted to €1,866m, 91% of which were offices (€1,695m) and 4% of mixed office / retail assets (€69m), 75% of which were located in Greater Paris (€1,404m) and 19% in high‐potential regional cities (€360m) (Aix‐Marseille, Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon, Nantes, Toulouse). As part of the initiative to constantly improve the quality of the property portfolio, 74% of the assets are subject to certification attesting to their environmental performance.

Société de la Tour Eiffel is continuing its strategic refocusing on markets in which the property company’s expertise lies, with a portfolio consisting mainly of offices occupied by multiple tenants, in dynamic markets liable to attract all types of service‐industry players.

Despite the slowdown observed on the investment market, the Group sold assets worth €59m in support of this refocusing strategy.

 

€96m of developments in 2020

Société de la Tour Eiffel handed over 3 projects during the year representing €76m of investment and €4.7m in  potential  annualized  rents,  of  which  €2.5m  have  already  been  secured  with  leases  signed  on  the  Orsay  business park (IBM and the Paris Saclay metropolitan authority) and on the Marseille business park. The KBis building in Lyon, handed over during the lockdown at the end of 2020, is now being leased.

The balance of the development plan amounts to €20m at the end of 2020. Advanced to the tune of €16m and expected to generate €1.6m in annualized rental income, it consists of 1 development schemes in Greater Paris (26%) and 2 schemes in high‐potential regional cities (74%).

As per prior announcements, the Group is taking advantage of the vacations in the second half of 2020 of the Lyon Dauphiné and Puteaux Dion Bouton sites to redevelop them. The investment plan fuelled by these two development schemes, both of which are representative of the property company’s value creation strategy, will be completed by the Aubervilliers site when it becomes available, scheduled for H1 2021. Overall, €4.4m in annualized rents will be devoted to the strategic vacancy.

 

Sustained rental activity despite a deteriorated environment

€12.2m in annualized rents were the subject of agreements during the period, including €4.7m in new leases signed and €7.6m of leases renewed. Taking into account departures, the net balance of the rental activity comes to ‐€0.5m in annualized rental and ‐€1.2m after reinstating the strategic vacancy.

Worth highlighting among the rental successes are the signatures for 2,350 m² of office space with Transactis on the Delta building in Nanterre in January 2020 and 3,400 m² signed with two companies of the Vinci group in the Nanterre Seine Eiffel business park. In addition, the take‐up of 5,500 m² by an international group in the Seine Etoile building in Suresnes and of 3,000 m² by Avnet on the Copernic building in Massy, are the start of the conversion of these two buildings into multi‐tenant use, validating the strategic/commercial repositioning of these assets.
The Nanterre Seine Eiffel business park (with 74,000 m² of floor area) will cross the 90% occupancy rate mark, demonstrating the relevance of the value creation strategy carried out since its acquisition at the end of 2016, when the occupancy rate stood at 60%.

As at 31 December 2020, the financial occupancy rate (EPRA) was 81.4% (vs. 82.1% at the end of 2019) and the  average  firm  lease  term  was  2.6  years.  Restated  for  strategic  vacancies,  this  occupancy  rate  stands  at  83.7%.

 

EPRA earning €2.4 per share marked by disposals and the strategic vacancy rate

On a like‐for‐like basis and excluding the strategic vacancy rate, rental income increased by +1.1% to stand at €92.9m, down ‐4.3% mainly due to disposals during the period. Net of charges, rental income fell by 5.7%, in line with the change in the occupancy rate.

Current operating income stood at €61.2m (vs. €71.3m). The lower rental income is accentuated by provisions for rents and re‐billable charges (‐€4.9m), slightly offset by the reduction in operating costs (+€0.8m). It should be noted that of the €4.9m in provisions for debt write‐downs, only €1.8m (2% of receipted rents) are directly linked to the effects of the health crisis. €3.1m correspond to receivables arising from the end of contracts (financial leasing or leases on assets in the disposal plan) from the former Affine property portfolio.

Financial expenses stood at €17.5m (vs. €19.1m), reflecting additional drawdowns to finance developments and Capital Expenditures (€59.9m) and improved financing costs. The average debt interest rate stands at 1.8% (vs. 2.1%), highlighting the full‐year performance of the refinancing for €330m carried out in October 2019 and which benefits for the second half of 2020 from financial conditions improved thanks to the LTV (loan‐to‐value) ratio reduced to below 40% thanks to the issuance of PSBs.

The success of the issuance of new PSBs for €180m last June, to which the main shareholders of the group contributed, allowed Société de la Tour Eiffel to significantly enhance its equity capital. The instrument comes with a coupon of 4.5% with a first possibility of repayment, in the issuer’s hands, in 5 years. This financing made it possible to restore the LTV ratio to 39.0% (vs. 49.0% at year‐end 2019) and thus return less than 18 months after the merger with Affine to the strategic objective of 40%.

After taking into account other income and expenses, taxes and earnings of companies accounted for using the equity method, the EPRA earnings (recurring net profit) stood at €46.4m, or €2.38 per share.

By reintegrating all EPRA restatement adjustments (allocations, profit on disposals, and changes in the value of financial instruments), consolidated net income rose from €1.4m in 2019 to a €10.7m.

Current Cash Flow for the year amounted to €38.0m, i.e. €2.30 per share, compared with €2.91 in 2019.

 

Increase in Revalued Net Assets

The EPRA Net Tangible Asset Net Asset Value (NTA) per share rose from €52.2 to €53.0 at year‐end 2020, the dividend paid in June having been more than offset by the EPRA earnings and the increase in the fair value of the property portfolio over the period. The EPRA Triple Net Asset Value (NNNAV) per share experienced an equivalent increase from €54.2 to €55.0 at year‐end 2020.

Taking  into  account  the  net  impact  of  investments  and  disposals,  assets  amounted  to  €1,866m  (excluding  transfer taxes and fees), compared with €1,860.1m at year‐end 2019 (+0.3%).

 

Dividend stable of €2.0 per share

The Board of Directors will propose to the General Meeting of shareholders a stable dividend of €2.0 per share paid in cash. This dividend corresponds to a yield of 6.4% and 6.7% calculated respectively on the average share price for 2020 and on the closing price on the last day of the 2020 financial year.

This distribution is equivalent to a pay‐out of 87% of the 2020 Current Cash‐Flow or 84% of the EPRA earnings.

 

Greater room for manoeuvre to better face new challenges

While the 100% Office business model of the property company has so far demonstrated its resilience in the face  of  the  health  crisis,  the  unprecedented  scale  of  the  latter  calls  for  caution  in  estimating  its  future  consequences. However, at year‐end 2020, tenants identified as being “high” and “very high” risks given their exposure  to  the  consequences  of  the  Covid‐19  crisis,  represented  €4.0m  in  rent  on  an  annual  basis.  No  significant payment incident has been observed on rent calls for the first quarter of 2021, with rents collection to date of 92.0%.

As it undertook to do in 2019, Société de la Tour Eiffel enhanced its equity in June 2020 by issuing €180m in PSBs all subscribed by its main shareholders.

In  addition  to  securing  the  financing  of  its  development  plan,  the  issue  means  the  property  company  has  greater margins for manoeuvre, providing it with additional resilience in order to cope with various challenges of the new business environment, including tenant solvability, postponements in handovers, the pre‐leasing of development schemes and even possible investments properties negative fair value adjustments. Those funds will also enable the Group to seize new investment opportunities.

Strengthen  by  this  efficient  management,  the  Group  can  resolutely  move  forward  towards  its  objectives:  refocusing the property portfolio on its strategic markets, improving the occupancy rate of assets, securing revenues, executing its development plan and generating capacity for future growth.

 

 

Calendar
  • 29 April 2021: General Shareholders’ Meeting
  • June 2021: Dividend payment
  • July 2021: Half‐year results 2021 (after market close)

 

 

Contacts

Press relations: Laetitia Baudon – Advisory Director Agence Shan – Tel. + 33 (0)1 44 50 58 79 – laetitia.baudon@shan.fr

Investor Relations: Florent Alba – Advisory Director Agence Shan – Tel. +33 (0) 1 44 50 03 84 – florent.alba@shan.fr