Are we entering a new era of global property ownership consolidation?

Jaap Tonckens, chief financial officer at Unibail-Rodamco.

France’s Unibail-Rodamco is Europe’s largest commercial landlord and is now expected to become the world’s largest shopping centre operator with its bid to buy Australian-listed retail property empire Westfields.

The two companies jointly announced the deal, reported to be worth US$24.7bn including debt and the biggest-ever corporate takeover in Australia, in December 2017.

Unibail-Rodamco chief financial officer, Jaap Tonckens will be in South Africa at the upcoming SA REIT Conference 2018, hosted by the SA REIT Association and sponsored by Nedbank CIB.

In addition to his role as CFO, Tonckens is responsible for overseeing the investments of Unibail-Rodamco. He will explore the latest REIT trends and investor sentiments at this state of the industry conference, which takes place on March 15 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Sandton Central.

Unibail-Rodamco specialises in shopping centres in European capital cities, in offices in Paris and in convention and exhibition centres in Paris. Its total portfolio was valued at €43.1bn in December 2017, and it has a €7.9bn pipeline of developments across Europe.

Westfields began with one shopping centre in the outer suburbs of Sydney, Australia, and has grown to become one of the world’s largest shopping centre owners and managers, making its name in Europe and USA. Westfield Corporation has a portfolio of 35 shopping centres in the United States and the United Kingdom valued at US$32bn.

The planned tie-up of the two will create the one of the world’s largest shopping centre owners. Moreover, it seems that shopping centre investment could be consolidating globally and the world may be headed into the new era of the mega property owner.

The UK’s biggest publicly traded mall owners, both with local listings on the JSE, are combining forces too. In December 2017, Hammerson Plc agreed to buy its smaller competitor, Intu Properties Plc, in a £3.4bn billion deal.

The South African listed property sector is also on a globalisation charge. It is now exposed to over 25 countries, and nearly 45% of the FTSE/JSE SAPY Index earnings come from outside of South Africa.

Looking at internationalisation and other key local and global trends, the SA REIT conference will equip delegates with vital views on the influences, opportunities, challenges and innovations that will affect the sector immediately and in the future.

Seats at the SA REIT conference 2018 are filling up fast. To register your attendance visit www.sareit.com.