Scentre Group
Contact Us
Search

04 April 2024

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER’S ADDRESS

SCENTRE GROUP LIMITED

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

HELD ON THURSDAY, 4 APRIL 2024 AT 10:00AM

Good morning everyone.

Our strategy to create places and experiences that more people choose to come to, more often and for longer has delivered strong operating performance in 2023.

I am very pleased with our results and thank the team for their achievements during the year and for remaining focused on our customers.

Funds from Operations was $1.094 billion – 21.11 cents per security – up 5.2% on the previous year.

Net Operating Income increased by 8.8% to $1.951 billion.

Customer visitation to our 42 Westfield destinations was 512 million, up 32 million or 6.7 per cent on 2022.

This was underpinned by our activation program focused on giving people more reasons to spend their time with us. This included new strategic partnerships with leading brands such as Disney, Live Nation and Netball Australia.

We have extended our partnerships with these brands which will include a year-long calendar of unique experiences for our customers.

During 2023, our business partners achieved $28.4 billion in sales, an increase of $1.7 billion or 6.4% compared to 2022 and representing a record across our Westfield platform.

Demand from business partners continues to be strong with occupancy increasing to 99.2% at 31 December 2023, compared to 98.9% at the end of 2022.

During the year we completed 3,273 leasing deals which included 307 new brands to the portfolio.

On average, specialty rent escalations increased by 7.5% and new lease spreads improved to +3.1%.

We collected $2.723 billion of gross rent during the year, an increase of $131 million compared to 2022 and equivalent to 103% of gross rental billings for the period.

Our strategic customer initiatives include our Westfield membership program, which now has 4 million members, an increase of 830,000 since the beginning of 2023.

In November 2023 we successfully opened the final stage of the $355 million investment in Westfield Knox in Melbourne, of which our share was $178 million. Visitation at Knox is 14% higher than the comparable period in 2019.

We are well progressed on our expansion of Westfield Sydney on the corner of Market and Castlereagh Streets in Sydney’s CBD. The Group will introduce 6,000 square metres of luxury retail space over five levels, including the new Chanel boutique. Other brands to join the expanded Westfield Sydney include Moncler, Omega and Canada Goose.

During the year we commenced redevelopments at Westfield Mt Gravatt in Brisbane and Westfield Tea Tree Plaza in Adelaide to introduce new usages and business partners.
We continue to progress pre-development works on our $4 billion pipeline of retail real estate opportunities.

Planning has commenced at Westfield Bondi Junction in Sydney to repurpose Level 1 of the current David Jones department store space. Our strategy is to optimise Bondi by introducing elevated wellness, health and luxury experiences as well as new entertainment and lifestyle experiences that will reinforce this leading destination.

Planning for long-term investment opportunities at Westfield Booragoon in Perth is also ongoing.

The Group’s destinations are located on more than 670 hectares of land holdings primarily located in major population and growth regions across Australia and New Zealand.
This provides the Group with potential long-term strategic growth opportunities.

The Group continued to be proactive with respect to capital management including increasing our interest-rate hedging at attractive rates and repurchasing US$300 million of subordinated notes.

At 31 December 2023, the Group had available liquidity of $3.5 billion, which will cover all debt maturities until the end of 2025. We continue to maintain our ‘single A’ credit rating.

Progress also continues on our pathway to net zero by 2030 - Scope 1 and 2 emissions - with the recent completion of rooftop solar installations at Westfield Fountain Gate, Knox, Hornsby and Tuggerah.

Together these installations more than double the Group’s solar generation capacity to 12.2MW.

We have entered into long-term energy agreements in NSW and Victoria, which together with our existing agreements in Queensland and New Zealand, will assist us in achieving net zero by 2030.

As mentioned by our Chair, during the year Brian Schwartz retired from our Board and I would also like to thank Brian for his support and guidance to me over many years. We were very pleased to establish a scholarship for excellence in his name at Western Sydney University. The scholarship will commence this year.

I am pleased to report that attracting even more people to our destinations remains our focus into 2024.

For the first 12 weeks of this year, we have welcomed over 118 million customer visits. This is an increase of 2.1% or 2.4 million more visits when compared to the same 12 weeks in 2023.
Total business partner sales for January and February this year are 3.1% higher compared to 2023 and 13.4% higher than 2019, or $3.5 billion higher since 2019.

Our focus on creating extraordinary places and experiences where people choose to spend their time, enabling more businesses and brands to connect with more customers, is expected to continue to deliver growth in earnings and distributions.

Our Westfield destinations, strategic land holdings and our unique brand provide significant long-term growth opportunities for the Group.

Subject to no material change in conditions, the Group expects Funds from Operations to be in the range of 21.75 to 22.25 cents per security for 2024, representing 3.0% to 5.4% growth for the year.

Distributions are expected to be at least 17.20 cents per security for 2024, representing at least 3.6% growth for the year.

On behalf of our team, thank you for your support.

-ENDS-

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners and communities of the lands on which our business operates.

We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to their Elders past and present.

We recognise the unique role of Māori as Tangata Whenua of Aotearoa/New Zealand.


Scentre Group

Looking for a shopping centre or store?
Westfield AU | Westfield NZ

ABN 66 001 671 496

85 Castlereagh St
Sydney NSW 2000

GPO BOX 4004
Sydney NSW 2001

Security Price

$3.095

Updated:
29 May 2024
12:11 PM AEST


© Scentre Group Limited

Terms of useSecurity and privacy