Restructured Westfield Posts $582 Million Second-Half Profit

Westfield Corp., the Australian owner of malls in the U.S. and U.K., reported a $582 million second-half profit as it pressed ahead with an $11.4 billion pipeline of developments.

Funds from operations were $391 million for the six months ended Dec. 31, the Sydney-based company said in a regulatory filing Wednesday. Co-Chief Executive Officer Peter Lowy, who was expected to step down, will remain in the role, and former Deputy Chief Financial Officer Elliott Rusanow was appointed CFO, it said.

Westfield Corp., created in June from the restructure of Westfield Group and the property trust it managed, is focusing on higher growth markets outside Australia to boost returns. Its locally focused counterpart Scentre Group on Tuesday reported full-year net profit of A$1.8 billion ($1.4 billion) before restructure charges and credits.

“Our strategy is to continue the focus on creating and operating flagship assets in major markets that deliver great experiences for consumers and retailers,” co-CEOs Peter and Steven Lowy said in the statement. “Our investment in the development pipeline is expected to create significant long-term value for security holders.”

Westfield shares fell 0.5 percent to A$10.09 at the close of trading in Sydney. The stock began trading on June 25 and has risen 43 percent since then. That compares with a 26 percent jump in Scentre and a 10 percent increase in the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index.

Geographic Shift

Comparable net operating income rose 5.3 percent over the 12 months through December, Westfield said. The company had $2.4 billion of developments in progress and $9 billion of planned projects as of Dec. 31, it said.

Following the completion of Westfield’s developments, the U.S. will account for 55 percent of assets, from 80 percent now, and the U.K. and Europe will make up 45 percent, Peter Lowy said on an investor call.

“The company is evolving and we’re trying to work out where the best market for us is” to be listed, including Australia, he said.

Funds from operations will be 37.7 cents a share for 2015, and Westfield expects to pay a 25.1 cents a share dividend, it said.

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