Scentre Group’s results for 2017 demonstrate its stable financial position and capital structure that continues to generate a consistent investment return performance.
At 31 December 2017, the Group’s portfolio of 39 assets – which includes 16 of the top 25 best performing centres in Australia – had a combined value of $51 billion, increasing by $5.3 billion since 2016. Since the establishment of Scentre Group in 2014, the value of our portfolio has increased by 30%.
Each one of these centres stimulates significant economic activity and investment opportunities in and around the local environment as well as providing direct and indirect employment opportunities – through normal operations and redevelopment projects. In 2017 the Group’s redevelopment program generated almost 21,700 jobs in construction with a further 1,725 permanent roles in retail to be created on completion of these projects.
There were more than 530 million shopper visits at Westfield shopping centres during the year. Two hundred and eighty-nine new retail brands were introduced to the portfolio, while a further 592 existing brands extended their store networks with the addition of a further 943 stores.
We continued to optimise our capital structure through disciplined capital management which included issuing US$500 million (A$650 million) of long-term bonds; refinancing and extending $3.7 billion in committed bank facilities; and also set a new target payout ratio of 85% to retain earnings for reinvestment into the business.
During the year the Group continued its strategic reinvestment into its high quality portfolio including:
"Scentre Group maintains its future development pipeline in excess of $3 billion, providing further opportunity for growth and investment."
During 2017 the Group raised over $17 million in community support across Australia and New Zealand, comprising a combination of cash and in-kind contributions through strategic and local partnerships. This included facilitating philanthropic donations, employee donations and volunteering programs, shopping centre space provision and
Scentre Group recognises that its financial performance may be impacted by a number of risk factors associated with property ownership, property management and development, financing and general economic conditions.
The Group’s internal risk management systems have been formulated to ensure the identification, assessment, control, review and reporting on key risks and risk management processes – and are disclosed more fully in the Directors’ Report (pg.5-6).
Scentre Group remains committed to industry best practice in investor relations. Our Continuous Disclosure and Communication Policy underlines our commitment to providing investors and the broader community with high quality, relevant and accurate information in a timely manner to enable Group securities to be traded in a market that is efficient, competitive and informed.