The Westfield Group WDC Share To Watch


Westfield Group (WDC)Westfield Group (WDC) is the world’s largest listed retail property group. The group has a global portfolio, comprising 105 shopping centres across five countries.

It also manages all aspects of shopping centre development, from design and construction through to management and marketing.

FY12 results

Today WDC reported an 18.3% rise in FY12 net profit to $1.7 billion. Funds from operations – which strip out asset revaluations – climbed 6% to $1.5 billion.

Net property income rose 7%, with the UK contributing a large part of the growth as the London Olympics led to an increase in shopping centre traffic.

There was positive 2H momentum in the US, with net operating income growth exceeding previous guidance as specialty sales rose due to a record number of shops opened.

Another highlight was the high occupancy rates. Global occupancy was 97.8%, up 30 basis points on-year with most of the growth coming from the US portfolio.

Buyback extended

WDC declared a final distribution of 24.5 cents, bringing the full year distribution to 49.5 cents. This was a 2.3% increase on FY11’s distribution. The group forecast an FY13 distribution of 51 cents, representing a yield of 4.5% at current prices.

Although this is not as high as some other high yielding stocks in the market, WDC did extend its share buyback for another 12 months, a move likely to provide a good degree of support for the share price.

Outlook

WDC commenced $1.4 billion in new projects during 2012, and forecast another $1.25 – $1.5 billion in new projects during 2013. The overall development pipeline now stands at $12 billion, providing plenty of scope for WDC to continue delivering steady profit growth.

With the US economy continuing to heal from the GFC, we expect stronger retail activity in the group’s largest market. In our view that will help drive the share price higher in the near-to-medium term.

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