10.03.2021

  • FFO I climbs 12.3% year-on-year to around EUR 383 million
  • NTA increases 16.5% to EUR 122.43 per share
  • Strong operating performance compensates effects from rent increase waiver:
    • Vacancy rate drops to 2.6% (l-f-l, - 30 bps)
    • EBITDA margin improves to 74.4% (+ 160 bps)
  • Acquisition of 9,535 residential units, most of them outside NRW
  • Loan-to value ratio of 37.6% creates potential for further external growth
  • Dividend proposal of EUR 3.78 (+ 5.0%)
  • 2021 outlook confirmed (FFO I: EUR 410 million to EUR 420 million)
  • Comprehensive climate footprint with valid data basis for sustainable planning
  • Secure jobs for 1,600 employees (+ 11%)
  • Very successful first year at “Your Home Helps” foundation
  • Introduction of measurable ESG KPIs


Despite the considerable pandemic-related restrictions, the positive business performance of LEG Immobilien AG continued during financial year 2020. Key drivers for higher earnings were the rise in net rent as a result of acquisitions and moderate rental growth, a significantly improved occupancy rate, a considerably reduced administrative costs ratio and a further reduction of average financing costs. There was also a strong development of the additional services’ business, including the acquisition of an experienced project manager for renovating vacant apartments.  

“In a challenging environment, we achieved a strong result for 2020. Despite concessions in favour of our tenants and pandemic-related restrictions, we exceeded our financial and operating targets. With our excellent operations and our successful acquisition strategy, we more than offset the negative Covid-19 impact. I am particularly pleased that LEG’s apartments are now fully let, except for those vacancies that are due to a change in tenant. This shows that we offer our customers a good, affordable and secure home, also in times of crisis – thus offering precisely the product that our society so intensely needs.,” explains Lars von Lackum, CEO of LEG Immobilien AG.

 
FFO I rises significantly – moderate rent growth due to rent waiver

Due to the drivers mentioned above, Funds from Operations (FFO I), the key performance indicator for the company, rose significantly by 12.3% to EUR 383.2 million (FY 2019: EUR 341.3 million) in 2020.

The EBITDA margin expanded considerably to 74.4% (previous year: 72.8%). Therefore, LEG remains one of the leading providers in the German residential sector in terms of profitability.
 
In-place like-for-like rent rose by 2.3% compared to the previous year. The moderate rent growth relative to the market was primarily driven by the voluntary, temporary waiver of rent increases and the delay of some modernisation work. The average rent per square metre charged for an LEG apartment is EUR 5.96 (l-f-l). This is testimony to LEG’s clear focus on the “affordable housing” segment for tenants in the low to medium income brackets. 
 
The like-for-like vacancy rate declined significantly year-on-year, by 30 basis points to 2.6% (l-f-l) and has reached the level of structurally related vacancies resulting from a change in tenant.

 
Dividend proposal of EUR 3.78

The Management Board and the Supervisory Board intend to propose a dividend of EUR 3.78 per share for the financial year 2020 to the Annual General Meeting on 27 May 2021. On a per share basis the dividend increases by 5.0% compared to the previous year. The dividend yield amounts to 3.0% based on the year-end closing price for 2020.

 
Further considerable rise of NTA and NAV

With the NTA (Net Tangible Assets Value), the company is reporting the net assets value of its properties, replacing the previously reported NAV (Net Asset Value). In comparison to the NAV, NTA does not include intangible assets and goodwill. As of the reporting date, the NTA increased by 16.5% to EUR 122.43 per share. In the same period, adjusted NAV per share improved by 16.4% to EUR 122.65.
 
The average value of the property portfolio (including acquisitions) amounts to EUR 1,503 per square metre as at 31 December 2020 (31 December 2019: EUR 1,353/square metre). This equates to a gross rental yield of the portfolio of 4.7%.

Due to the positive operating performance and ongoing high demand for German residential property, a further increase of the NTA is expected for 2021.

 
External growth accelerates again

As an expert for good-quality housing for large parts of society, LEG intends to steadily strengthen its market leadership position in its home market NRW, as well as expanding its portfolios in additional states in Western Germany with similar structures. In this context, the company was very successful in the financial year 2020. With the acquisition of 9,535 units, almost 8,300 outside North Rhine-Westphalia, LEG again accelerated its growth momentum over the past year. Taking into account additional units that were purchased in 2019, but whose ownership transferred to LEG only in 2020, the number of LEG apartments increased by as much as app. 10,500 in 2020 to 144,530 units. The share of residential units outside North Rhine-Westphalia has risen from 3% at the end of 2019 to 8% at the end of 2020. As was the case in 2020, for the current financial year, the company is targeting the purchase of approximately 7,000 apartments.

 
Strong statement of financial position provides scope for growth

As of 31 December 2020, the duration of LEG’s liabilities was 7.4 years on average. At 1.33% average interest costs were again lower than in the previous year. One key contributor was the successful placement of a convertible bond with a volume of EUR 550 million on 24 June 2020. It has a coupon of 0.4% and a term of eight years. The convertible bond issue was placed concurrently with EUR 273 million. Both transactions were multiple times oversubscribed and used primarily to finance the considerable portfolio growth. The Loan to Value (LTV) was 37.6% at the end of the year. LEG’s strategic LTV target is less than 43%. At 92.5%, the interest rate hedging level remains high. LEG’s low risk profile provides room to finance future portfolio growth.

 
High customer focus and secure jobs in Corona times

A key factor driving success at LEG is its alignment to customer satisfaction. In the pandemic year, customers had a particular desire for safe, affordable and comfortable housing, combined with a high acceptance of digital solutions.
 
Thanks to its financial stability the company was able to grant payment relief for customers particularly impacted by corona and to provide particular support to tenants with children and old people on an everyday basis. This was achieved with the help of LEG’s two foundations. At the same time, demand increased tangibly as did willingness to pay for greater housing comfort.  LEG addresses this demand through value-enhancing maintenance and modernisation investments into its properties. During the financial year 2020 such investments increased by approximately 32% to close to EUR 389 million (including new building), or EUR 41 per square metre. To the benefit of its customers, LEG took advantage of the reduced value-added tax rate in the second half of the calendar year. Much of the company’s capex spending relates to improving the energy efficiency of its buildings.
 
In 2020, LEG Group also benefited from its comparably high level of digitisation. A tenant app and tenant portal have already been standard at LEG since 2017. Since 2019, the company has been offering a digital rental contract. At the beginning of 2020, the LEG team further developed this to a completely digital rental process, including virtual viewing options. Approximately 20 robotics solutions allow the efficient and economical handling of mass processes which in turn allows LEG employees in many areas to focus on more complex customer matters.
 
Based on the positive business trend, LEG offers attractive and secure jobs. The number of employees at LEG Group increased from 1,444 (31 December 2019) to 1,599 (31 December 2020). Each LEG employee received a Corona bonus of EUR 1,500. LEG’s proven health and crisis management reacted quickly and flexibly to the challenges created by the pandemic. The entire workforce was quickly provided with the technical equipment and the right to work from home with flexible working hours. The relevant company agreement explicitly applies to the time after the pandemic as well. For LEG’s employees working in the neighbourhoods, clear security instructions and adjusted work processes have been put in place. From the beginning of February 2021, LEG has all offered employees with customer contact a weekly Corona quick test. During the first lock-down in spring 2020 it granted employees with children over 4,400 paid care hours. 

 
Climate footprint with real data

We take very seriously our commitment to social responsibility, environmental topics and good corporate governance. For this commitment to be appropriately reflected in our reporting, this year’s annual report also includes the non-financial report according to German Commercial Code for the first time. The separate sustainability report will be published on 11 May 2021 – together with comprehensive information on our sustainability strategy.
 
With today’s results, LEG is reporting for the first time a climate footprint for the total portfolio based on actual consumer usage data, rather than extrapolating from energy certificates. The result shows that the company has an average energy consumption of 157.5 kWh per square meter, despite the focus on the “affordable housing” segment and a high share of buildings constructed before 1980. As a result, the company’s energy consumption is broadly in line with average of the entire German housing market. The current consumption corresponds to a CO2 equivalent of 36.7 kg per square metre, which is the starting point for deriving further climate-protection measures.

 
Support of the “Your Home Helps” foundation reaches more than 10,000 people

In relation to social measures, we are very pleased about the strong overall result of our “Your Home Helps” foundation. With a budget of EUR 1 million in 2020, it supported those tenants and households particularly impacted by the Corona crisis. Overall, a total of 28 different projects benefited more than 10,000 people.

 
2021 outlook confirmed

On the outlook for the new financial year, CEO Lars von Lackum states, “For 2021 we anticipate robust operational business and further growth. However, beyond our financial targets, we will continue the relentless pursuit of our social commitment and our climate targets. Examples here include our successful foundation work and our extensive modernisation measures.”
 
Depending on how the Corona virus unfolds, the company is forecasting an FFO I of between EUR 410 and EUR 420 million for 2021. These figures do not yet take into account the effects of further potential portfolio acquisitions or disposals. The mid-point of this range corresponds to an increase of around 8.3% compared to the FFO I achieved in financial year 2020.
 
 

Key Figures

      
       

Results of operations

  

2020

2019

+/- %

Rental income

€ million

  

627,3

586,1

7,0

Recurring net rental and lease income

€ million

  

493,0

453,2

8,8

EBITDA

€ million

  

1.619,6

1.310,1

23,6

EBITDA adjusted

€ million

  

466,9

426,5

9,5

EBT

€ million

  

1.395,0

1.051,3

32,7

Net profit or loss for the period

€ million

  

1.364,5

821,1

66,2

FFO I

€ million

  

383,2

341,3

12,3

FFO I per share

  

5,44

5,27

3,2

FFO II

€ million

  

381,3

327,9

16,3

FFO II per share

  

5,41

5,06

6,9

AFFO

€ million

  

92,8

134,6

-31,1

AFFO per share

  

1,32

2,08

-36,5

Dividend per share

  

3,78

3,60

5,0

       
       

Portfolio

  

31.12.2020

31.12.2019

+/-
%/bp

Number residential units

 

  

144.530

134.031

7,8

In-place rent

€/sqm

  

5,94

5,82

2,1

In-place rent (l-f-l)

€/sqm

  

5,96

5,83

2,3

EPRA vacancy rate

%

  

2,8

3,1

-30 bp

EPRA vacancy rate (l-f-l)

%

  

2,6

2,9

-30 bp

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Statement of financial position

  

31.12.2020

31.12.2019

+/-
%/bp

Investment property

€ million

  

14.582,7

12.031,1

21,2

Cash and cash equivalents

€ million

  

335,4

451,2

-25,7

Equity

€ million

  

7.389,9

5.933,9

24,5

Total financing liabilities

€ million

  

5.869,0

5.053,9

16,1

Current financing liabilities

€ million

  

491,3

197,1

149,3

LTV

%

  

37,6

37,7

-10 bp

Equity ratio

%

  

48,4

45,9

+250 bp

Adj. EPRA NAV, diluted

€ million

  

9.264,3

7.273,0

27,4

Adj. EPRA NAV per share, diluted

  

122,65

105,39

16,4

EPRA-NTA, diluted

€ million

  

9.247,6

7.254,5

27,5

EPRA-NTA pro Aktie, diluted

  

122,43

105,12

16,5

       

bp = basis points

      

 

About LEG
With around 145,000 rental properties and approximately 400,000 residents, LEG is one of Germany’s leading listed housing companies. The company has seven branch offices in its home state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and is represented by personal local contacts at locations in other states in western Germany.

LEG generated income of around EUR 861 million from its core rental and lease business in the 2020 financial year. As part of the new construction campaign it launched in 2018, LEG wishes to make a social contribution towards creating both privately financed and publicly subsidised housing, and to build or acquire at least 500 new apartments per year from 2023 onwards.
 
 
 
Investor Relations contact:
Frank Kopfinger
Tel. +49 211 45 68-550
E-mail: frank.kopfinger@leg.ag
 
 
Press contact:
Sabine Jeschke
Tel. +49 211 45 68-325
E-mail: sabine.jeschke@leg.ag
 

Disclaimer

This publication constitutes neither a solicitation to buy nor an offer to sell securities. To the extent that we express forecasts or expectations or make forward-looking statements in this document, these statements can entail known and unknown risks and uncertainties. These statements reflect the intentions, opinions or current expectations and assumptions of LEG Immobilien AG. The forward-looking statements are based on current planning, estimates and forecasts, which LEG Immobilien AG has made to the best of its knowledge, but that are not a statement on their future accuracy. Actual results and developments can therefore differ materially from the expectations and assumptions expressed.
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