French listed property giant Gecina announced on Friday that it has completed the creation of a dedicated residential subsidiary as part of plans to seek investment partners for a €3 bn portfolio focused on greater Paris.
Paris-based Gecina said late last year that it would transfer some €3 bn of residential assets to a new unit of which it will retain control. The new subsidiary with 107 staff will open up its capital and allow other investors to gain access to the residential sector and benefit from Gecina's experience in this asset class.
As the same time, the move will allow Gecina to capitalize on potential opportunities for growth and to further develop the portfolio in Greater Paris’ most central sectors, as well as in other major French cities.
Gecina’s residential portfolio is made up of 6,000 apartments, representing 409,000 m2. The company intends to maintain a group share allocation of its portfolio with around 80% office assets and 20% residential assets.
In a business update for the first quarter of the year, the French REIT also announced that it is cancelling second-quarter rents excluding general expenses and taxes for its very small business tenants which have been forced to close doors following the coronavirus outbreak.
Very small businesses and SMEs from ‘shut-down’ sectors represent less than 2% of the commercial rental base, the company added.
For 13% of its office rents, Gecina also said that it has opted for deferring rent payments or setting up monthly instalments on a case-by-case basis.
The group is also responding to the French government’s appeals to moderate dividend policies by reducing its 2019 dividend to €5.30 per share, covering its distribution requirements under the REIT tax-efficient system.
In addition, the company is reducing the compensation of CEO Méka Brunel for 2020 by two months’ salary as a solidarity measure during this period. An equivalent amount will be donated to the Gecina Foundation to support charities working to fight against Covid-19 consequences, it added.