Here’s why Westfield Corp Ltd shares could be a good fit for your portfolio

Credit: James May

The share price of Westfield Corp Ltd (ASX: WFD) has risen marginally today after the global shopping centre giant released its earnings results for the full-year ended 31 December, 2015.

As was the case with the results from Scentre Group Ltd (ASX: SCG) on Tuesday, Westfield Corp’s results are not completely comparable to the results from 2014. This is because of the timing of the global Westfield restructure in the middle of that year.

Nonetheless, here are some of the highlights from today’s results:

  • Funds From Operations (FFO) of US$783 million, or US 37.7 cents per security
  • Distribution of US 25.1 cents per security
  • Completed over US$1 billion in projects; and commenced US$2.5 billion of projects
  • Portfolio was 95.9% leased as at 31 December, 2015
  • Specialty sales of US$726 per square foot, up 6.4%

Pleasingly, most of the specialty sales gains came from Westfield Corp’s Flagship portfolio, comprised of its biggest and most profitable shopping centres around the United States and United Kingdom. Specialty sales of US$902 psf were achieved from these centres, representing growth of 8%, while specialty sales from the regional portfolio rose 3.2% to US$454 psf.

Indeed, the Flagship portfolio is where Westfield Corp will focus the majority of its attention, highlighted by the fact it divested six of its non-core assets during the period for US$1.3 billion, and sold part of another three into a joint venture. The Flagship malls are in better locations, enjoy heavier foot traffic and are also the beneficiaries of most of Westfield Corp’s development pipeline money.

Westfield Corp said that its World Trade Centre mall is now fully leased, and scheduled to open in August 2016, while good progress is being made at Century City and Westfield London.

Like Scentre Group, Westfield Corp is trying to revolutionise the shopping experience for shoppers. This obviously includes the multi-billion dollar renovations the group is undertaking on its centres, while it is also investing heavily in its digital platform which it hopes will better connect retailers and consumers.

In 2016, Westfield Corp expects FFO to be between US 34.2 cents and US 34.5 cents per security, which would represent pro-forma growth of between 3% and 4% from 2015 (after taking into account the dilution from the non-core asset divestments). However, it expects its distribution to remain the same at US 25.1 cents (AU 34.9 cents) per security which, at today’s exchange rate, puts the shares on a dividend yield of roughly 3.6%.

Despite its sheer size, it appears that Westfield Corp still has plenty of growth potential, while it can also help Australian investors profit from the weaker Australian dollar. The shares have risen 0.1% today and are trading at $9.72.

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ASXvalueinvest.

The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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