On 19 July, Plaza Centres plc published its interim results covering the six months ended 30 June 2017.
During the first six months of 2017, Plaza’s revenues increased by 16.7% to €1.48 million (H1 2016: €1.27 million) since the first six months of 2017 reflect the inclusion of Tigne’ Place which was acquired in September 2016. The Directors reported that the overall occupancy of both properties declined to 93% from 99% as at 30 June 2016. The lower occupancy level was the result of the current refurbishment works being undertaken within Tigne’ Place and the renegotiation of new lease agreements.
Operating costs (comprising marketing, maintenance and administrative costs) increased by 15.4% to €0.26 million resulting in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (“EBITDA”) of €1.22 million (+16.9%). The EBITDA margin increased slightly to 82.7% from 82.5% during the first half of 2016. After deducting a depreciation charge of €0.23 million for the first half of 2017 (H1 2016: €0.17 million), Plaza registered an improved operating profit of €0.99 million, representing an increase of 13.5% from the previous comparable figure of €0.87 million. Nonetheless, the Company’s cost-to-income ratio deteriorated to 32.9% from 31% in the previous comparable period.
Net finance costs increased significantly as they reached €0.19 million from just €0.06 million in the first six months of FY2016, reflecting the additional borrowings taken on by Plaza for the acquisition of Tigne’ Place. As a result, Plaza reported a slight decrease of 2.4% in pre-tax profits to €0.8 million (H1 2016: €0.82 million). However, after accounting for a much lower tax charge of €0.19 million against €0.3 million in the previous comparable period (reflecting a more beneficial tax regime), Plaza’s profits after tax rose by 16.4% to €0.6 million (H1 2016: €0.52 million).
The condensed statement of financial position as at 30 June 2017 reveals that total assets remained at €43.4 million compared to the position as at 31 December 2016 whilst total liabilities increased by a marginal 1.2% to €17.5 million. Accordingly, shareholders’ funds eased by 0.8% to nearly €26 which translates into a net asset value per share of €0.9198 (31 December 2016: €0.927).
Similar to previous years and in line with the Company’s dividend policy of only paying a final dividend, the Directors did not recommend the payment of an interim dividend.
The Directors noted that the refurbishment of Tigne’ Place is moving according to schedule and is expected to be completed before the end of 2017. Occupancy levels for the second half of 2017 are expected to remain in line with that as at 30 June 2017 as Plaza continues to enhance its retail mix. Meanwhile, the Company continued to explore the market for further investment opportunities and is also considering carrying out a refurbishment at the Plaza Shopping Centre.