Westfield to trim down US presence and focus on Europe assets – including London sites

The owner of London’s Westfield shopping centres said on Wednesday it would massively trim down its U.S. presence and complete a remaining 3.2 billion euro-worth ($3.9 billion) of European asset disposals before the end of 2022, according to a report from Reuters.

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s (URW) new management team is reportedly looking to sell real estate to tackle its €26.4bn of gross financial debt amid the financial fallout of coronavirus lockdowns, by selling prime assets and taking out more long-term debt as it seeks to refinance its upcoming maturities.

On its Amercian presence, the group’s new chief executive, Jean-Marie Tritant, reportedly said “At the end of the day, the exposure to the U.S. will be minimal, if not zero,” the in a call with journalists, despite the United States being the group’s second biggest contributor to its rental income after France in 2019.

Tritant took the top job in January after a group of rebel investors won shareholder support in a push for a more European focus.

Mr Tritant said the company was “100% committed” to retaining the two London Westfield malls, adding that they were “its best assets in Europe and among the top globally.”

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