Vonovia Commits to 2050 Climate Roadmap, Continues Positive Business Development
/ Key word(s): Annual Results
2020 Fiscal Year
- Sustainability Performance Index includes ecological and social
- Binding climate roadmap for climate-neutral housing stock; research on climate-neutral heat generation.
- Social responsibility toward tenants; assurance that no one experiencing financial difficulties due to coronavirus will lose their home.
- Continued stable economic development; positive business development also expected for 2021.
Bochum, March 4, 2021 - In the fiscal year under review, Vonovia SE ("Vonovia") has committed to a binding climate roadmap for a virtually climate-neutral building stock by 2050 and continued its positive business development. The Bochum-based residential real estate company aims to achieve climate-neutral housing by combining energy-efficient modernization with carbon neutral heat generation. Vonovia also uses social and sustainable neighborhood development projects to promote living and functioning neighborhoods. Vonovia's own ecological and social responsibility has been established in its business philosophy since 2019. The new Sustainability Performance Index (in short: SPI), which was developed in 2020, will allow Vonovia's sustainability performance to be measured and includes specific sustainability targets.
"Stable companies such as ours are being called upon to take responsibility," says CEO Rolf Buch. "For us, acting in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner is an obligation that we are happy to be measured against. Our new Sustainability Performance Index is on equal terms with our key financial figures."
The SPI is Vonovia's main non-financial key figure. It thus underlines the importance of environmental, social and governance aspects (in short: ESG), for Vonovia and is also relevant for remuneration purposes. The SPI considers the carbon savings achieved annually in housing stock, the energy efficiency of new constructions, the ratio of senior-friendly apartment refurbishments, customer and employee satisfaction, and gender diversity in the company's upper management levels.
Neighborhoods at the Center of the Climate Revolution
The neighborhood in Bochum-Weitmar plays a special role as a research site; Vonovia is working with renowned Fraunhofer Institutes to research the use of green hydrogen for electricity and heating. The resulting "Energy Center of the Future" will generate at least 60% of the energy that is needed locally using carbon-neutral techniques. "The most important thing is that climate-neutral housing remains affordable for our tenants," says Rolf Buch. "We as a company are just as responsible for this as are the policymakers. We need to see changes in overall political conditions, such as the exemption of landlord-to-tenant electricity from grid fees and taxes."
Vonovia Expands Use of Photovoltaics
Improvements in externally validated key figures are testimony to Vonovia's active contribution to ESG-related solutions. For instance, Vonovia was admitted to the renowned Dow Jones Sustainability Index Europe and earned a top spot in the sustainability ranking of the rating agency Sustainalytics. In addition, Vonovia has been listed in the European blue chip EURO STOXX 50 index since September 2020. It is currently the only real estate company in this leading index, and the first residential real estate company overall.
Vonovia uses active hardship management to support tenants experiencing financial difficulties. The company has used its hardship management system and the regulation for tenants over 70 to decide in favor of more than 3,000 cases since 2018. In other cases, the company continually strives to seek a solution. During the coronavirus pandemic, Vonovia temporarily stopped rent increases and the termination of leases. The company also supported charitable organizations such as AWO and various food banks in 2020.
Vonovia is expanding the digital channels to maintain dialogue with its tenants. One key component is the "Mein Vonovia" tenant app. The app allows customers to manage bills or lease agreements digitally, and to commission repairs. It will soon also be possible to use the app to conclude lease agreements completely digitally. Available in the usual app stores since early 2020, the app has been downloaded more than 135,000 times and has more than 45,000 active users per day. The Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) confirms that tenants respond positively to the company's measures and social welfare. The index grew by 8.6 % over the previous year.
Vonovia concluded more than 33,600 new lease agreements in the 2020 fiscal year. Like its employees, the company's tenants have diverse backgrounds. They come from more than 150 different countries, and their ages and income structures reflect society at large. In addition, more than 12,000 people from Syria and Afghanistan have found a home at Vonovia since 2015.
Vonovia's monthly net rent in Germany was € 6.95 per m² on average at the end of December 2020. If only conurbations are considered, Vonovia's quoted rents are an average of around 7% below the market level.
More than 90% of Office Employees Working From Home
Positive Economic Development Continues in 2020
Vonovia is reporting the total revenue generated by its four segments, total segment revenue, in this year's annual financial statements. This value corresponds more or less to the total revenue achieved by the Group. It increased by 6.3% year-on-year to € 4,370.0 million. The Adjusted EBITDA Total rose by 8.5% to € 1,909.8 million, mainly due to acquisitions and organic growth. The Adjusted EBITDA Rental increased by 8.1%, rising from € 1,437.4 million to € 1,554.2 million. With a joint total of € 355.6 million, the Recurring Sales, Development and Housing-Related Services (Value-add) business areas were responsible for the increased Adjusted EBITDA Total. This corresponds to an increase of more than 10% compared to the prior-year period.
Group FFO also improved in the last fiscal year. The key figure for Vonovia's operating earnings power improved by 10.6% to € 1,348.2 million. Again, the positive result was due primarily to the acquisitions in Sweden.
Criteria Published for First Green Bond
Vonovia also issued its first fully digital bond at the beginning of 2021, thus taking another step in its digitalization drive. In addition, Vonovia has published the criteria for its first green bond, which it plans to issue this year. The criteria are based on the standardized EU-wide taxonomy and the funds raised will be used to finance sustainable projects in a targeted manner.
Increase in the Value of the Portfolio
As of December 31, 2020, the portfolio of the residential real estate company consisted of around 416,000 of its own rental apartments. Vonovia's German portfolio of 355,000 apartments represents a market share of around 1.5% in Germany.
Asset value disclosure is made according to the best practice recommendations of the European Public Real Estate Association (EPRA). Going forward, the control parameter for the net asset value will be the EPRA NTA (Net Tangible Assets), which will replace the Adjusted NAV (Net Asset Value) reported to date. It provides more significant data regarding the value of the real estate portfolio that Vonovia holds in the long term. The EPRA NTA increased by 19.2% year-on-year to € 35,488.6 million.
The EPRA NRV (Net Reinstatement Value), which represents the value that would be required to rebuild the company (including the Development and Value-add segments), is also being reported. This came to € 43,677.3 million (2019: € 37,065.9 million).The fair value of the portfolio increased in the reporting period to € 58.9 billion. This includes the increase in the value of Vonovia's properties of around € 4.9 billion, in particular thanks to investments in modernization and new construction and to the increased demand for residential property in major cities. Due to a lower turnover, the vacancy rate fell by a further 0.2 percentage points to a very low level of 2.4%. The increase in rent due to market-related factors within a year came to 0.6% (2019: 1.1%). Modernization investments resulted in a 1.9% increase in rents (2019: 2.3%), while investments in new construction and vertical expansion resulted in a rent increase of 0.6% (2019: 0.5%).
Vonovia has committed to renovating every third existing apartment that is newly rented to make it senior-friendly. Around 13,000 apartments were modernized in 2020 to allow older people to live long lives in their own homes. These modernization measures range from a new bathroom to modernization of the entire apartment.
Vonovia invested a total of € 1,935.9 million (2019: € 1,971.1 million) in maintenance, modernization and new construction (for its own portfolio) between January and December 2020. Due to isolated delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, this figure is down slightly by 1.8% compared with the previous year. The volume of maintenance measures rose considerably by 22.9% to € 592.0 million (2019: € 481.6 million). Investments in modernization came to € 908.4 million (2019: € 996.5 million), with € 435.5 million (€ 493.0 million) for new construction (for the company's own portfolio).
New Employees, More Trainees Than Ever Before
Vonovia continued to recruit new employees even during the coronavirus pandemic. The number of employees was up year-on-year to 10,622 (+2.7%). Vonovia offers long-term prospects to its trainees in particular. 510 (+7.8%) aspiring specialists are currently completing their training at Vonovia - more than ever before. Vonovia continues to offer young people from insolvent companies the opportunity to complete their training programs. "In times like these, we need well-trained colleagues in all areas of the company more than ever, so we can rise to social challenges and take responsibility. As a result, we are always looking for more staff," says Rolf Buch.
Forecast for Financial and Non-Financial Key Figures
Based on the stable business performance, the Management Board and the Supervisory Board will be proposing a dividend of € 1.69 per share to shareholders at the Annual General Meeting in April 2021. This corresponds to an increase of € 0.12 and a dividend yield of 3.2% based on the closing price on March 01, 2021.
In 2021, Vonovia plans to once again make comprehensive investments in modernization and new construction, in an expected range between € 1,300 million and € 1,600 million. Total segment revenue is expected to range from around € 4,900 million to € 5,100 million, while the forecast for Adjusted EBITDA Total is between € 1,975 million and € 2.025 million. Based on these figures, Vonovia expects its Group FFO to increase further, to between € 1,415 million and € 1,465 million. Vonovia expects its Sustainability Performance Index to achieve around 100% target achievement for individual indicators, such as carbon savings in the portfolio and customer satisfaction.
2021 Financial Calendar:
* Based on the shares carrying dividend rights on the reporting date: 12/31/2019: 542,273,611, 12/31/2020: 565,887,299.
The company, which is based in Bochum, has been listed on the stock exchange since 2013. Since September 2015 Vonovia has been a constituent in the DAX 30 and since September 2020 in the EURO STOXX 50. Vonovia SE is also a constituent of additional national and international indices, including DAX 50 ESG, Dow Jones Sustainability Index Europe, STOXX Global ESG Leaders, EURO STOXX ESG Leaders 50, STOXX Europe ESG Leaders 50, FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Europe, and GPR 250 World. Vonovia has a workforce of more than 10,000 employees.
This press release has been issued by Vonovia SE and/or its subsidiaries solely for information purposes. This press release may contain statements, assumptions, opinions and predictions about the anticipated future development of Vonovia ("forward-looking statements") that reproduce various assumptions regarding, e.g., results derived from Vonovia's current business or from publicly available sources that have not been subject to an independent audit or in-depth evaluation by Vonovia and that may turn out to be incorrect at a later stage. All forward-looking statements express current expectations based on the current business plan and various other assumptions and therefore come with risks and uncertainties that are not insignificant. All forward-looking statements should not therefore be taken as a guarantee for future performance or results and, furthermore, do not necessarily constitute exact indicators that the forecast results will be achieved. All forward-looking statements relate solely to the day on which this press release was issued to its recipients. It is the responsibility of the recipients of this press release to conduct a more detailed analysis of the validity of forward-looking statements and the underlying assumptions. Vonovia accepts no responsibility for any direct or indirect damages or losses or subsequent damages or losses, as well as penalties that the recipients may incur by using the press release, its contents and, in particular, all forward-looking statements or in any other way, as far as this is legally permissible. Vonovia does not provide any guarantees or assurances (either explicitly or implicitly) in respect of the information contained in this press release. Vonovia is not obliged to update or correct the information, forward-looking statements or conclusions drawn in this press release or to include subsequent events or circumstances or to report inaccuracies that become known after the date of this press release.
File: Vonovia Continues Positive Business Development_PI_210304
04.03.2021 Dissemination of a Corporate News, transmitted by DGAP - a service of EQS Group AG.
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