Sponda offers two months’ rent free to F&B tenants

Finnish retail and office landlord Sponda will be offering two months’ rent free to all restaurant and food & beverage tenants, after the government imposed the closure of all such venues in the country in an effort to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

A company spokesperson said that Sponda has approximately 200 restaurant and food & beverage tenants. The company declined to reveal the share they represent in its total portfolio.

In a statement on Wednesday, Sponda’s recently appointed CEO Christian Hohenthal said: ‘In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are offering all of our restaurant and food & beverage tenants two months’ rent free until 31 May. We are working closely with our tenants and stakeholders to put in place successful long-term solutions to help us all get through this challenging time.’

Sponda, which is majority owned by US asset management giant Blackstone, said that the initiative is in addition to previously announced support measures including interest free rent deferrals based on individual tenant situations and flexible shopping centre opening hours. The move comes in response to the Finnish Parliament’s decision last week to close these businesses until 31 May 2020.

‘We understand the challenges many businesses are currently facing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are extending our support to ensure they are not forced out of business during this unprecedented time,’ said Sponda, which owns a CRE portfolio of over €3 bn across the country.

Finland’s coronavirus cases stands at 1,313 with 13 deaths. The country has restricted traffic across its borders, banned public meetings of more than 10 people, closed schools for most pupils and urged people to stay at home as much as possible.

Sponda is believed to be the second property landlord to forgo rents for some of its tenants. In March Spanish REIT Merlin Properties decided to suspend rent payments for all its retail and hotel occupiers which had been forced to close their doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.