Solid results confirm resilient business model despite challenging market environment.
Immobel delivered solid 2022 financial results despite challenging geopolitical and macroeconomic environments. The underlying net profit reached EUR 54.5 million. The underlying return on equity stood at 9.5%. EBITDA reached EUR 68.6 million.
Like most real estate companies, in 2022 Immobel was impacted by the geopolitical context and macro-economic headwinds. These have led to rapidly increasing interest rates, increased construction costs as well as procurement issues for key building materials – impacting construction speed. In the face of these challenges, the company shifted its focus from growth to operational excellence, reducing its overhead costs by 30% as of 2024. Together with Immobel’s healthy balance sheet – with a cash position of EUR 276 million – this strategy enabled the company to weather current market conditions and provide a solid foundation for the future.
The underlying net profit1 reached EUR 54.5 million, down from EUR 92.2 million in 2021, which was a record year for the company. The underlying ROE2 stood at 9.5%. EBITDA3 totalled EUR 68.6 million, vs 103.8 million in 2021.
Operating income (incl. joint ventures and associates)4 reached EUR 410 million. Sales of residential projects remained strong in Belgium and Poland. Other markets were more challenging. 2022 saw a slowdown in residential demand, due to rising interest rates and overall macroeconomic headwinds. The sales of prime office assets also contributed significantly to the financial performance. These include the Cours Saint-Michel site in Etterbeek (Brussels, Belgium)5. The company also witnessed strong rental activity for its office business.
As part of its focus on operational efficiency, Immobel will reduce its yearly overhead costs by EUR 15 million as of 2024 mainly by limiting its exposure to the development of small residential projects in France as well as transferring its real estate investment management activity from London to Brussels. It also encompassed toning down its acquisition strategy during the second half of 2022.
An impairment loss of goodwill of EUR 43.8 million was recorded in 2022 reflecting the strategy to shift our focus from the development of small residential projects located in the suburban areas of Paris, to the development of mixed-use projects located in the centre of the capital. Including impairment loss, the net profit group share reached EUR 10.7 million.
Real estate investment management remains part of Immobel’s strategy. However, given the challenges related to the current economic context, the company has decided to close its dedicated platform in London (Immobel Capital Partners) early 2023 and further pursue this activity from Brussels.
In Germany, the Eden Tower (Frankfurt) project – which is currently being completed – has recorded significantly higher construction costs than expected, leading to a negative impact on the net profit.
Final permits obtained for projects with a total GDV (Gross Development Value)6 of EUR 412 million. Immobel’s total gross development value remained stable compared with 2021, at EUR 5.7 billion.
A conservative balance sheet and a cash position of EUR 276 million provide Immobel with a strong financial footing, enabling the company to weather the tough market and pursue the development of its existing portfolio.
In June 2022, Immobel successfully placed green notes for a total of EUR 125 million, underlining the trust in the company as well as our ability to deliver on our commitments.
A gross dividend of EUR 3.05 per share will be proposed at the General Meeting on 20 April 2023.
Financial performance driven by prime office assets
In 2022, the total sales value of our sold assets reached EUR 473 million. This figure can be broken down into EUR 318 million for residential properties and EUR 155 million for offices. The company also witnessed strong rental activity for its office business.
- In Belgium, sales of residential assets remained solid, especially the O’Sea, Slachthuis, Ilôt Saint-Roch and Lalys projects. Prime office assets were also key contributors to sales, including the Cours Saint-Michel site in Etterbeek (Brussels) ; Commerce 467, a BREEAM Outstanding and CO2 neutral building in the European Quarter in Brussels; and The Woods8, a 10,000 m² modern redevelopment located in Hoeilaart, Flemish Brabant.
- As part of Immobel’s focus on operational efficiency, in France the company is limiting its exposure to small residential projects located in the outskirts of Paris and its suburban areas in order to focus on (high-margin) mixed developments located in the centre of Paris. The delay of the sales process of the St Antoine office project impacted sales negatively in this country.
- In Poland, the Granary Island residential project in Gdansk was nearly fully sold in 2022. Next to the higher costs incurred related to the Eden Tower (Frankfurt) project, sales in Luxembourg and Germany were negatively impacted by lower demand for residential projects and the delayed start of construction.
Permitting – key projects moving forward
Although the company faces substantial delays in obtaining permits for some of its mixed-use residential developments, other key projects are moving forward. Final permits were obtained for new projects with a total GDV (Gross Development Value) of EUR 412 million last year. This was slightly lower than expected mainly due to the annulment of the land use plan for our RAC4 project in Brussels by the Council of State, in December.
· Neighbourhood information and co-creation play a significant role in the redesigned Brouck’R project for which Immobel and BPI Real Estate submitted a modified building permit request in October.
· In the summer, Immobel submitted a building permit request to transform the Proximus Towers9into a liveable, future-oriented and inclusive place. The plans are part of the new vision of the Brussels Region to transform the North District, including the North Quarter, into an accessible, safe, and connecting neighbourhood for all its residents and users.
· In July, Immobel acquired the Commodore project (11,000 m²) in Evere (Brussels, Belgium). The project, with final permit, consists in the redevelopment of a former office site into 115 quality apartments surrounded by green.
Focus on high quality of project portfolio
Immobel’s total gross development value remained stable compared with 2021, at EUR 5.7 billion, as the sale of assets offset acquisitions.
During the first half of 2022, Immobel conducted several successful and impactful new acquisitions, including the Proximus Towers (see above).
During the second half of 2022, Immobel toned down its acquisition strategy to align it with the evolving macroeconomic environment and the existing pipeline.
Healthy balance sheet
Despite the challenging economic conditions, the company has maintained a strong liquidity, with a cash position of EUR 275.9 million and a gearing ratio10 of only 53.0%. The net debt11 reached EUR 626.6 million at the end of last year. The company's financial footing gives it the flexibility and agility to face the current headwinds and pursue the development of its existing portfolio.
Maintaining our dividend policy
A gross dividend of EUR 3.05 per share will be proposed at the General Meeting of Immobel, which will be held on 20 April 2023.
Annual Report 2022
The full Annual Financial Report 2022, including Immobel’s Financial and ESG Reports, will be available on the website as from 17 March 2023.
1 Net profit group share before impairment loss.
2 ROE (Return on Equity) refers to the net profit group share divided by the equity group share at the beginning of the year. Underlying ROE refers to the return on equity before impairment loss.
3 EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Depreciation and Amortisation) refers to the operating result before amortisation, depreciation and impairment of assets (as included in Administration Costs).
4 Represents operating income in internal view (i.e. external view figures before the application of IFRS 11). Operating income in external view (i.e. official IFRS reported figures of the company) reached EUR 244 million.
5 Through the sale of 100% of the shares of CSM Properties SA/NV.
6 Sales value or gross development value: total expected future turnover (group share) of a project or all projects in the current portfolio (including projects subject to conditions precedent for which the management judges there is a high likelihood of closing.
7 Through the sale of 100% of the shares of Michael Ostlund Property S.A.
8 Through the sale of the shares of the companies owning and operating the property.
9 In March 2022, Immobel (and a number of SPV’s controlled by Immobel) and Proximus entered into binding agreements regarding the sale and redevelopment of the Proximus headquarters.
10 Gearing ratio is calculated by dividing net debt by the sum of net debt and equity group share with goodwill subtracted from equity group share.
11 Net debt refers to the outstanding non-current and current financial debt offset by the cash and cash equivalents.