Gazit-Globe to Combat Web Shopping With Doctor Tenants, CEO Says

Gazit-Globe Ltd.’s focus on tenants such as doctors and supermarkets will help Israel’s largest real estate company weather growth in online shopping, according to Chief Executive Officer Roni Soffer.

“We are a little more immune - not resistant - because we are selling necessities,” said Roni Soffer in an interview at Bloomberg’s Tel Aviv office. “Most of our shopping centers have doctor offices and other activities that people need to do on their own and that is helping make it more e-commerce immune.”

Gazit-Globe, based in Tel Aviv, manages real estate assets valued at about $20 billion and rents the space to supermarkets, pharmacies, doctors and daycare centers. Online shopping accounted for 10.6 percent of all U.K. retail sales in December compared with 9.4 percent a year earlier, the Office for National Statistics said on Jan. 18.

The company owns real estate in 20 countries through its subsidiaries, including Helsinki-based Citycon Oyj and Equity One Inc. of North Miami Beach, Florida. Canada, the company’s biggest market, accounted for 2 billion shekels ($542 million) of its 6.5 billion-shekel revenue in 2011. Europe accounted for

1.6 billion shekels and the U.S. represented 1.3 billion shekels of revenues, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Gazit-Globe shares have added 27 percent in the past year, compared with a 6 percent gain in the Tel-Aviv 100 Index and a 16 percent increase in the Bloomberg Real Estate Investment Trust Retail Index. Its shares fell 1.1 percent to 48.27 shekels in Tel Aviv today. The company’s shares in New York slipped 1.9 percent to $13.15 at 1:06 p.m.

The company’s unit completed last month the purchase of the Prado shopping center in Campinas, Brazil for about $20 million.

“Our main focus for now is to build critical mass in Brazil,” said Soffer. “We are very liquid and we are able to take advantage of opportunities in big capital cities.”

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