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04 April 2024

CHAIR’S ADDRESS

SCENTRE GROUP LIMITED

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

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

Good morning everyone and welcome to the Annual General Meeting of Scentre Group Limited, and the meetings of securityholders of Scentre Group Trust 1, Scentre Group Trust 2 and Scentre Group Trust 3, which are being held together this morning at this meeting.

I am Ilana Atlas, the Chair of Scentre Group.

Our AGM is being held as a hybrid meeting. I am conducting the meeting from the Wesley Conference Centre in Sydney and securityholders can also participate online and ask questions on the telephone line.

The Company Secretary has informed me that a quorum is present, and I declare the meeting open.

I would like to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of the land we are on, and I recognise that people viewing the webcast of this AGM may be on different lands of different Traditional Custodians.

I would like to pay my respect to each of their Elders, past and present, and I extend that respect to Torres Strait and Aboriginal peoples here with us today or participating online.

I would like to welcome on stage with me my fellow non-executive Directors Mike Ihlein, Catherine Brenner, Steve McCann, Margie Seale, Guy Russo, Carolyn Kay and Mike Wilkins, as well as our Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Elliott Rusanow; and Maureen McGrath our Company Secretary.

Mr Mike Wright, representing the Group’s auditors EY, is here today, and we are also joined by members of Scentre Group’s executive team in the audience.

[Procedural matters addressed]

I would now like to say a few words about the performance of our company.

CEO Elliott Rusanow will address our financial and operating performance following my remarks.

2023 was a successful year for the Group.

The Group delivered strong financial and non-financial results in a responsible and sustainable way, focusing on short-term and long-term value for securityholders.

The Scentre team delivered improved year-on-year performance and invested in the future of the business.

Our Westfield destinations are part of the social fabric of the communities we serve and located in some of the most populated cities of Australia and New Zealand.

It has been very pleasing to see continued strong demand for what we offer in our destinations, given elevated inflation and moderating economic growth.

This highlights the relevance of the Group’s strategy to create the places more people choose to come more often, for longer.

Our destinations are well-positioned to play a role in the future growth of our communities and local economies.

The Group delivered strong financial performance with 5.2% growth in Funds from Operations.

Distributions to securityholders were $860.6 million or 16.60 cents per security, which represented growth of 5.4% and was above guidance.

During 2023 we transitioned our Board leadership with Brian Schwartz retiring and my commencement as Chair from 1 October.

This followed Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer succession in 2022, led by the Board under Brian’s stewardship.

On behalf of the Board and securityholders, I wish to acknowledge Brian’s contribution to our company from its establishment in 2014 as a Director and then as our Chair from 2016 until 2023.

His leadership played a critical role in shaping our Westfield destinations’ strong connection to customers, businesses and communities.

Continuing to build a strong organisational culture and being the place where talent thrives is a key focus of the Board.

We have a comprehensive plan in place to listen to, and engage with, our employees.

During the year we were greatly encouraged by our company-wide pulse check where 91% of respondents said they would recommend the Group as a place to work.

Delivering our results in a responsible and sustainable way remains a priority.

We have a strong track record in delivering on the four pillars of our responsible business framework of community, talent, environment and economic performance. Yet, we know we have more to do.

Recently the Group released its 2023 Responsible Business Report, Climate Statement and Modern Slavery Statement, providing a comprehensive update on our progress.

These are all available online.

On gender diversity, we are making progress on our 40:40:20 target with women representing 44% of the Board, 40% of executive Key Management Personnel and 57% of the total workforce.

We have a target to achieve net zero scope 1 and 2 emissions across our wholly-owned Westfield destinations by 2030, and are on track to achieve this. Since 2014, we have achieved a 41% reduction in scope 1 and 2 emissions across our portfolio.

We continue to focus on the three pillars of our net zero strategy which includes optimising centre efficiency, generating and procuring renewable energy and reducing residual emissions.

We are also focused on waste management and are committed to achieving our 2030 goal of waste recovery from operations of 90%.

Our people are the key to our success. Investing in our talent and their capabilities is integral to our strategy and growth.

Throughout the year, the Board and the Human Resources Committee have carefully considered remuneration so that our remuneration objectives are met: attracting and retaining the best talent, fairly rewarding our employees and aligning the experience of our employees with our securityholders.

The Board is of the view that the remuneration paid to executives in 2023 appropriately balanced paying for performance and alignment with the interests of our securityholders. The detail of these decisions and other remuneration matters are set out in the Remuneration Report which is the subject of a vote of securityholders later in the meeting.

The poll on the remuneration report for item 5 has not yet been taken. However, based on proxy votes already received, we expect to fall short of the required threshold of 75% by a narrow margin.

We are disappointed.

However, we welcome and highly value feedback from securityholders and other key stakeholders and will certainly take these views into account before we come back to you next year with our Remuneration Report.

We look forward to continuing our engagement with securityholders on our remuneration practices.

As a Board, we are always looking for ways to improve our effectiveness and add value to the Group.

On 1 April 2024, we restructured our Audit and Risk Committee to establish an Audit and Finance Committee and a Risk and Sustainability Committee.

This reflects our focus on being a responsible and sustainable business and the time we believe we need to dedicate to community and environmental matters.

Today, Carolyn Kay, Guy Russo and Margie Seale are standing for re-election.

Carolyn, Guy and Margie will address you shortly in support of their respective re-election, all with the full support of the Board.

The Board is committed to regular engagement with our teams.

Collectively and individually our directors have visited many Westfield destinations throughout the year including in New Zealand and Queensland and hosting our December Board meeting at Westfield Parramatta in western Sydney.

I look forward to visiting many more members of our team in our destinations throughout 2024.

I would like to acknowledge all members of the Scentre Group team for their commitment to serving our customers and communities throughout 2023.

I would also like to thank my Board colleagues for their commitment to Scentre Group and its securityholders during another important year for our company.

Thank you to you, my fellow securityholders for your ongoing support of our company.

-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

$3.10

Updated:
29 May 2024
12:01 PM AEST


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