The listed developer UBM wants to snack on the market shakeout due to the corona crisis. The question is not whether there will be an adjustment, but only when, said CEO Thomas Winkler on Thursday at the profit fair. As a developer focused on apartments and offices, you have the chance to buy very cheaply in times of crisis and sell at high prices in times of boom. He assured the shareholders of continuity in the dividend policy.
At UBM, they believe that the phase of cheap buying opportunities is only just beginning because project engineers could get problems with bank financing. Especially the housing sector is booming, UBM itself still has around 3,500 apartments in the pipeline. With investors, “concrete gold” is still number one, and the residential asset class is of particular importance. Real estate prices had already risen disproportionately before Corona, which is now accelerating.
They said goodbye to the hotel segment. This also applies to the “Leopold Quarter” on the Danube Canal in Vienna, right across from the Rossauer Lände U4 station, for which an architectural competition is currently running. “It makes no sense to create additional hotel space during the crisis,” said Winkler when asked by APA. According to a newspaper report, around 75,000 square meters of gross floor space in apartments and commercial space are under discussion for the 23,000 square meter area. The “Leopoldquartier” is a very interesting project that invigorates the 2nd district. The area is within walking distance of the 1st district and the Augarten. “We will also take this into account when using it,” said Winkler.
Winkler promised the shareholders a continuity in the dividend policy. In addition to the Ortner-Strauss core shareholders, management is also involved – he himself has invested his “entire retirement provision” here, the UBM boss revealed. For 2019, the company again paid 2.20 euros per share, which corresponded to a payout ratio that was reduced from 41 to 31 percent. This reduction is taking place as a “precautionary measure in view of the recession to be expected as a result of the Covid-19 crisis,” said UBM in April.
The real estate developer had increased the operating result and net profit in the second quarter as well. In the entire half-year the pre-tax result (EBT) increased from 29.3 to 43.8 million euros and the net profit rose from 21.3 to 26.6 million euros. With a project pipeline that has grown by 60 percent to 2 billion euros, one is “ready for opportunities in the market”. At the end of June, liquidity was 235 million euros and equity was 468 million euros, more than before the corona crisis. The third quarter figures should come on November 26th.
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