Westfield Corp Ltd’s share price slides on Brexit warning

The shares of Westfield Corp Ltd (ASX: WFD) have dropped lower in early trade despite the release of half year results which saw funds from operations rise in-line with forecasts by 3.1% to US$342 million or 16.5 US cents per security.

Also in-line with forecasts was its distribution. For the six months ended 30 June 2016, Westfield Corp’s distribution was 12.55 US cents per security.

Today’s decline is likely to be a result of the company revealing that it expects to be negatively impacted by the Brexit. As Westfield Corp is the owner and operator of all Westfield-branded shopping centres in the United Kingdom and the United States, the significant post-Brexit depreciation of the British pound has resulted in the downgrading of its full year funds from operations forecast.

Westfield Corp now expects to achieve full year funds from operations of between 33.7 US cents and 34 US cents per security, down from its previous forecast of 34.2 US cents and 34.5 US cents per security. This is only a slight downgrade and still represents pro-forma growth of between 3% and 4%, adjusting for asset divestments and income lost from redevelopment projects underway.

Rather positively though it has maintained its distribution forecast for the full year of 25.1 US cents per security.

Overall I think this was a very strong result and wouldn’t be too concerned by temporary currency fluctuations. Occupancy levels across the company’s portfolio rose quarter on quarter from 94.5% to 94.8%, average specialty store rent increased 1.8% year on year to US$86.41 per square foot, and speciality retail sales grew 2.8% year on year to US$724 per square foot.

There’s also plenty to look forward to for shareholders in the future. The recent opening of Westfield Word Trade Centre looks to have been a great success. It opened fully leased and ahead of its target yield. In addition to this its development projects in London, Los Angeles, and San Diego are all expected to generate significant value and earnings accretion for shareholders when they open for business.

In my opinion the decline in Westfield’s share price today is a great opportunity to buy this quality company at a cheaper price and I would choose it ahead of its spun-off Scentre Group Ltd (ASX: SCG), or Vicinity Centres Re Ltd (ASX: VCX).

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. 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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