Merci! Here’s what’s driving the Unibail (ASX:URW) share price 7% higher today

The real estate company’s shares are soaring. Here’s why.

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Key points

  • The Unibail Rodamco share price is trading 7% higher today
  • The real estate company announced a sale and joint venture relating to a French shopping centre yesterday
  • The company also released its full-year results for FY21

The Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield CDI (ASX: URW) share price is jumping today on the back of a sale and joint venture announced after the market closed yesterday.

The real estate company — which owns and runs 85 shopping centres and more than 50 flagship sites in Europe and the United States — also released its full-year results for the 2021 financial year yesterday.

At the time of writing, the Unibail Rodamco share price is up 7.32% at $5.65.

So what does this joint venture mean for the company? And how has it fared over the last 12 months with the worldwide COVID-19 challenges?

Let’s dive straight in…

Unibail-Rodamco’s joint venture

The Unibail-Rodamco share price is gaining after the company announced it had agreed to sell a 45% stake in Westfield Carré Sénart in Paris.

It will also enter into a long-term joint venture and management contract with insurance companies Societe Generale Assurances and BNP Paribas Cardif to provide asset and property management services.

The centre has an implied sticker price of €1 billion with a transaction date expected in Q1 FY22. The sale will cut €280 million of debt from the company’s balance sheet.

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield CEO Jean-Marie Tritant said:

We are pleased to announce the completion of this transaction and the creation of a long-term partnership with two leading French institutional investors.

The agreement is fully in line with our European disposal strategy to find the right joint venture partners for select assets, allowing us to release capital while continuing to leverage our established management capabilities.

FY21 full-year results

Additionally, the Unibail-Rodamco share price is likely being boosted by the company’s earnings for FY21, which it also released after the market closed on Thursday.

The real estate company saw decreased vacancies across the board, with “tenant sales approaching pre-COVID levels”. In fact, sales-based rents were up 30% against 2019.

As of 31 December 2021, the Unibail-Rodamco portfolio was valued at €54.5 billion — retail accounted for 86% of this, offices 6%, convention and exhibition venues 5%, and services 2%. It has also seen its asset values stabilise.

Further, it reported “above guidance” adjusted recurring earnings per share (EPS) of €6.91. Its 2022 adjusted earnings per stapled share (AREPS) are predicted to be between €8.20 and €8.40.

The company has also made a €2.2 billion debt reduction dent in its deleveraging plan and is pushing towards its goal of reducing its US financial exposure this year and the next.

Tritant said Unibail-Rodamco’s “operational performance over the past 12 months, achieved in the extremely difficult context of COVID-19, gives us great confidence for 2022”.

Unibail-Rodamco share price snapshot

Over the past 12 months, the Unibail-Rodamco share price has increased by 21%. It saw its highest price of $6.53 in June and its lowest of $4.25 in February.

Its shares are also up 18% this year to date.

The company has a market capitalisation of $1.01 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio (P/E) of 6.13.

Motley Fool contributor Alice de Bruin has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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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