Westfield Sydney: Was opened successfully in October 2011 and has performed well.

Westfield profit rockets

Shopping centre giant The Westfield Group has reported a rise of over 30 per cent for its half year profit, despite tough trading conditions.

In a statement today, the company revealed a 31.4 per cent increase in profit for the six months to June 30, to $800.1 million - up from $608.7 million in the previous corresponding period.

Westfield Group co-CEOs, Peter Lowy and Steven Lowy attributed the results to a “strategic plan”, outlined in November 2010, which has since positioned the group to generate greater shareholder value.

“The first step was the establishment of the Westfield Retail Trust (WRT) and since then we have implemented the strategic plan through a number of transactions. These results highlight the benefits of this strategy.

“The implementation of the plan has provided the group with approximately $10 billion of capital for redeployment into higher return opportunities.”

Implementation of the plan also included a number of transactions, completed during the first half, raising $4.8 billion of gross proceeds, including the joint venture of 12 assets in the United States and the divestment of 12 non-core assets.

Comparable net property income for the half year (in local currency) was up 2.5 per cent in the United States, up 3.3 per cent in Australia and New Zealand and steady in the United Kingdom.

The operating performance also saw income growth and comparable specialty sales growth in each region, reflecting the high quality portfolio globally.

According to the company, its portfolio at June 30 2012 was 97.5 per cent leased, with Australia and New Zealand over 99.5 per cent.

Comparable specialty retail sales for the period were also up 0.8 per cent in Australia, up 1.1 per cent in New Zealand.

Going forward, both Peter Lowy and Steven Lowy said they are confident in the future of the group's business model and opportunities for growth.

“We continue to pursue our strategic plan focussed on investing and developing world class iconic retail destinations in major cities globally that are highly productive, create strong franchise value and are resilient through economic cycles. [In addition] we will also continue to assess new investment opportunities both in existing and new markets.”

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