Sponda’s operations in 2015
We were successful in achieving our strategic goals in 2015. We made significant progress in simplifying our business structure and focusing our property ownership through property sales.
Sponda’s economic occupancy rate increased compared to the end of 2014, and cash flow remained strong. We also achieved our goal of a stable dividend payout and maintained our equity ratio at above 40 per cent in accordance with our strategy. Sponda’s equity ratio was 46 per cent at the end of 2015.
At the end of the year, Sponda sold to the Blackstone Real Estate Partners Europe IV fund its 38 per cent holding in Certeum, a logistics property company established in 2014, as well as its properties located in Vuosaari harbour. Holding a minority interest in Certeum represented a strategic intermediate phase for Sponda, one from which the company was able to move away slightly faster than planned, and with an outcome that exceeded market expectations.
In spite of the difficult market situation in Russia, we sold two properties in Russia in the spring 2015, which reduced the size of our property portfolio in Russia by approximately one fifth.
The rental market has remained challenging for several years due to the uncertain economic situation. The overall vacancy rate of properties has increased in the market, but the occupancy rate of Sponda’s properties increased in 2015. Sponda’s revenue in 2015 was EUR 230.5 million and the economic occupancy rate of the properties stood at 87.7 per cent at the end of the year.
Property development in 2015
Sponda’s portfolio of rental properties was boosted with new and attractive premises during the year. Three office buildings were completed in Helsinki’s Ilmala district and Estradi office building in Helsinki's Lassila district.
The most significant of Sponda’s property development projects in 2015 started in Tampere, where the company is building the city’s largest shopping centre. The construction of the Ratina shopping centre began in April 2015 and it is expected to be completed in spring 2018.
The value of Sponda’s property development portfolio stood at EUR 129.7 million at the end of 2015 (2014: EUR 133.1 million). Of this amount, land value represented EUR 53.8 million and property development projects EUR 75.9 million.