Top REIT expert heads for local industry event

Cape Town - France’s Unibail-Rodamco is Europe’s largest commercial landlord and is expected to become the world’s largest shopping centre operator with its bid to buy Australian-listed retail property empire Westfields.

The proposed deal is reported to be worth $24.7bn.

Unibail-Rodamco's chief financial officer (CFO) Jaap Tonckens will be in South Africa in March to attend the SA REIT Conference 2018, hosted by the SA REIT Association and sponsored by Nedbank CIB.

In addition to his role as CFO, Tonckens is responsible for overseeing the investments of Unibail-Rodamco. He will explore the latest real estate investment trust (REIT) trends and investor sentiments at the conference, which takes place on March 15 2018 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Sandton Central.

Unibail-Rodamco's total portfolio was valued at €43.1bn on 31 December 2017, and it had a €7.9bn pipeline of developments across Europe.

Westfield began with one shopping centre in the outer suburbs of Sydney, Australia, and has grown to become one of the world’s largest shopping centre owners and managers. Westfield Corporation has a portfolio of 35 shopping centres in the US and the UK valued at $32bn.

The planned tie-up of the two will create the one of the world’s largest shopping centre owners. Moreover, it seems that shopping centre investment could be consolidating globally and the world may be headed into the new era of the mega property owner.

The UK’s biggest publicly traded mall owners, both with local listings on the JSE, are combining forces too. In December 2017, Hammerson Plc agreed to buy its smaller competitor, Intu Properties Plc, in a £3.4bn deal.

The South African listed property sector is now exposed to over 25 countries, and nearly 45% of the FTSE/JSE SAPY Index earnings come from outside of South Africa.

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