KWE boosts dividend and confirms Stillorgan plan
LONDON-listed property firm Kennedy Wilson Europe (KWE) is closing in on a plan to extend and refurbish one of the best known shopping centres in the country.
The company is working on plans to update Stillorgan Shopping Centre in the heart of south Dublin.
KWE bought the centre in the summer of 2013 as part of the Opera CMH portfolio. While planning permission for a redevelopment of the centre - one of Ireland's first shopping centres - has been in place for some time, it had not been clear if KWE would look to update the centre.
However company chief executive Mary Ricks confirmed yesterday that her group was prepping the centre for a redevelopment.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, she said Kennedy Wilson's team here were working with tenants on how best to develop the centre which she described as a "phenomenal asset".
"Although it's a great centre, and is 100pc occupied, it needs a lot of TLC as there has been very little capital expenditure on it for a number of years.
"We are very, very, focused on that and are looking various things like putting a roof on the outside parts and extending it.
"Right now though our asset management team are talking to tenants and creating a lot of relationships and so forth there as we decide how best to proceed with it," Ms Ricks added.
KWE, which is part of Kennedy Wilson, a Los Angeles-based investment firm, said it continued to see a lot of value in Ireland, particularly in the office sector. It is prepping the former FAS building on Baggot Street for construction while it is on site at the apartment complex "Block K" at Central Park in Leopardstown.
Ms Ricks' comments came as KWE released 2014 results and increased its dividend.
Overall the firm said its net asset value - a measure of profitability for property firms - came in at 1,022 pence by the end of 2014, an increase of 2.4pc on the previous three months. It has increased its interim quarterly dividend by 75pc to 7p a share
KWE has been one of the biggest buyers of property in Ireland since the crash, and has forked out more than €500m. Irish assets make up close to 30pc of KWE's portfolio, with the vast majority of the remainder located in the UK.
Ms Ricks said "the team's ability to execute on £1.5bn of investments in ten months highlights our sourcing capabilities and deep local relationships across the industry and with financial institutions".
"We believe the current European environment will lead to a prolonged period of low interest rates and profitable opportunities in our target markets where active asset management will generate attractive total returns," she added.