Vonovia makes a solid start into the new financial year with a healthy core business and sells properties to CBRE Investment Management for €560 million
- Vonovia sells five real estate portfolios to CBRE Investment Management for €560 million.
- Ruth Werhan to become Chief Executive of newly created Human Resources division.
- Helene von Roeder leaves Vonovia at her own request.
- Core business of property management develops positively in the first quarter with de facto full occupancy.
- As expected, sales business declined at the beginning of the year.
- Guidance for full year 2023 confirmed.
Bochum, May 4, 2023 – Vonovia today sold real estate portfolios to CBRE Investment Management for around €560 million. The buyer, one of the leading global real estate asset management companies, is acquiring a total of five portfolio properties with 1,350 residential units in Frankfurt, Berlin and Munich.
Two of the five properties are in the final stage of construction with completion expected by end of August 2023. The book value of the properties as of Dec. 31, 2022, and the anticipated costs for completion amount to around €600 million. The closing of the sale is expected during the second and third quarter of 2023 after the customary closing conditions have been met.
Just in April 2023, a reliable joint venture partner was found for a minority stake in Südewo, acquiring almost 30 percent at a purchase price of around €1.0 billion. The investment was thus made at nearly book value.
Rolf Buch, Chief Executive Officer of Vonovia SE: “A sale of this size to a renowned company like CBRE Investment Management once again underlines the intrinsic value of our portfolio. Following the joint venture partnership, this is the second success in a short period of time. Amounting to a total of more than €1.5 billion, we already have almost reached our sales target for this year. Furthermore, we assess the results of our negotiations as a positive signal for the entire business: after a very difficult first quarter 2023 with little movement, the market is cautiously opening. Buyers and sellers can come to an agreement again. This in itself is a cause for optimism.”
As a result of the transactions, the company is able to cover this year’s refinancing needs in full, as well as a main part of the refinancing due in 2024.
Ruth Werhan to take over new Human Resources division as Chief Executive
The Supervisory Board of Vonovia SE has appointed Ruth Werhahn as a new member of the Management Board. She will assume responsibility for the newly created Human Resources division on October 1, 2023.
Jürgen Fitschen, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Vonovia SE: “We are delighted to have Ruth Werhahn join Vonovia’s Management Board. With her expertise and diverse experience in human resources management and in direct business responsibility, she brings important know-how to our company. She will also enrich the company on a personal level. Especially in view of the demographic change and the increasing shortage of skilled employees, it is important to strengthen the human resources function at Management Board level of the company. On behalf of the entire Supervisory Board, I wish Ruth Werhahn every success in her exciting new task.”
Ruth Werhahn: “In my new role, I intend to ensure that Vonovia continues to develop successfully. More than ever, an attractive and modern corporate culture and employer brand are crucial for this. This is the only way to inspire employees for the company in times of economic and social change and thus provide tenants with the best possible service. Housing is a basic need of all people. And it is primarily thanks to Vonovia’s employees that the company is not only successful economically, but also fulfils its social responsibility.”
Rolf Buch adds: “Over the past ten years, we have grown to 16,000 employees. Our company employs people with a wide range of skills and experience for whom we want to remain an attractive employer in the future. I am very pleased that with Ruth Werhahn, we have gained a proven expert with enormous experience for our new Management Board position. We are very much looking forward to working with her and already wish her much success.”
Ruth Werhahn had been a member of the Management Board and executive for Labour Relations at TÜV Rheinland AG since 2018. In addition to the human resources division, she was responsible for the international regions, which coordinate the cross-divisional activities of the technical testing service provider. TÜV Rheinland has around 21,000 employees in more than 50 countries and generates annual sales of more than €2 billion.
Ruth Werhahn studied law and began her professional career in 2000 in the human resources department of Veba AG in Düsseldorf. From 2001 onwards, Ruth Werhahn held various positions in the newly formed E.ON Group. From 2004 until the end of 2007, she was Chief of Central Staff for the Management and Supervisory Boards, before moving to the management of E.ON Nordic AB in Malmö, Sweden, in 2008, where she was responsible for Business Development as well as Mergers & Acquisitions, among other things. From 2010 to 2013, she was in charge of setting up the new electromobility business unit at E.ON Group. In 2013, she returned to the HR function and subsequently took over as Head of Human Resources for E.ON SE’s German business.
Helene von Roeder leaves Management Board
Helene von Roeder, Chief Transformation Officer of Vonovia, will be leaving the Management Board of Vonovia SE at her own request and by best mutual agreement effective July 1, 2023, to pursue new professional challenges.
Jürgen Fitschen commented on Helene von Roeder’s decision: “On behalf of all members of the Supervisory Board, I would like to thank Helene von Roeder most sincerely for her work over the past five years. First as Chief Financial Officer and from 2021 as CTO, she has played a significant role in the successful development of the company. We respect Helene von Roeder’s request and would like to wish her continued success for her personal and professional future.”
“After the past five years, I am leaving Vonovia SE with both a smile and a tear in my eye. During this time, we have been able to achieve a lot for the company together and can be proud of what we have accomplished. I am very grateful for the good cooperation on the Management Board and with my colleagues at Vonovia, but at the same time I am very much looking forward to the new challenge that lies ahead of me,” says Helene von Roeder about her decision.
Rolf Buch says: “It is with regret that I have taken note of Helene von Roeder's decision. Personally, and on behalf of my colleagues on the Management Board, I would like to thank her for her professional and dedicated collaboration. Since her appointment to the Management Board, we have taken a big step forward as a company. As CFO, she played a key role in the merger with Deutsche Wohnen. During her time as CTO, she successfully restructured and realigned the Value-add segment in particular. I wish her every success in her new career.”
Helene von Roeder has been on the Management Board of Vonovia SE since May 2018. After studying physics in Munich and theoretical astrophysics in Cambridge, she started her career in 1995 at Deutsche Bank in London. From 2000 to 2004, she worked for UBS AG in Frankfurt and London and then moved to Morgan Stanley Bank in Frankfurt, where she was most recently a member of the Management Board of Morgan Stanley Bank AG as Head of Global Capital Markets for Germany and Austria. From 2014, she was then responsible for Credit Suisse’s business in Germany, Austria and CEE.
Robust business performance in the first quarter
As expected, Vonovia was off to a good, robust start in the new financial year. The company continues to benefit from the megatrends of housing demand in urban conurbations and the focus on climate protection and energy efficiency. The core business of property management has developed positively. Climate neutrality by 2045 remains an important goal for Vonovia.
Rolf Buch: “The housing market was tense in the first three months of the year. Our core business - residential property management - is healthy and developed positively even in this difficult environment. The sales business declined as expected.”
At €1,430.7 million, the total segment revenues in the first quarter of 2023 were around 12% below the same period in the previous year. This decrease was mainly due to volume-related lower revenues from the development business and from Recurring Sales. EBITDA dropped by nearly 10%, from €728.7 million to €657.1 million.
Rental EBITDA, the largest segment with an EBITDA share of around 88%, amounted to €579.7 million in the first quarter of 2023 (Q1 2022: €551.2 million). Thanks to efficiency improvements, low vacancy rates and synergies from the integration of Deutsche Wohnen, Vonovia’s core business of property management thus performed positively at around 5% above the same period in the previous year.
As expected, the other segments were in each case below the previous year’s figures, contributing around 12% to the total EBITDA. The decrease in the Development segment was largely due to the completion of an uncommonly large project during the first quarter of 2022. In the Value-add segment, increased costs for construction services as well as lower investments in new construction and modernisation and the associated lower order volume had an impact.
The decrease in EBITDA as well as an increase in interest expenses translated into a lower Group FFO. Overall, Vonovia’s Group FFO, its most relevant indicator for operational profitability, fell by 17.8% year on year, from €563.1 million to €462.6 million. Vonovia reported a Group FFO of €0.58 per share (Q1 2022: €0.73).
Current portfolio valuation provides transparency
At the end of the first quarter, Vonovia carried out an unscheduled revaluation of its entire portfolio, resulting in a total market value of its real estate portfolio of around €91.2 billion (December 31, 2022: €94.7 billion).
“Our valuation certainly offers the greatest possible transparency with regard to the challenging situation in Q1 2023. However, this valuation is a snapshot. Especially since we are seeing larger transactions again for the first time in the second quarter. Furthermore, the following applies unreservedly: The current market environment with increased capital and construction costs accelerates the megatrends that we are using as the basis of our business,” says Buch.
The EPRA NTA (net tangible assets) as the control parameter for the net asset value was €42,779.3 million and thus 6.5% below the value of €45,744.5 million at the end of 2022. This value was €53.75 per share.
As a result of the disposals, the pro forma LTV was 45.4% at the reporting date.
As of March 31, 2023, the existing portfolio was effectively fully let, with a vacancy rate of 2.2%. The organic rent increase was 3.4% in all. The current market-related rent increase was 1.2%. The average effective monthly rent across the Group was €7.54 per square metre as of March 31, 2023. In the German portfolio this figure was €7.46 per square metre.
Investments for climate neutrality with high priority
Over the past few years, the company has already started to carry out extensive upgrades to its housing stock and will continue to do so at the same pace: Vonovia is gradually replacing conventional heating systems with heat pumps, is setting up its own local heating networks powered by renewable energy, and is switching its energy supply to green electricity. With these measures, the company is pursuing its climate roadmap, which aligns with the Paris Agreement on Climate Protection and its 1.5° target.
Rolf Buch: “Climate protection has a high priority for us. Smart neighbourhood development enables us to shape the energy transition in an economically and socially responsible way. To do so, however, we need a reliable political framework that provides the right incentives for the housing industry to carry out energy-efficient renovations.”
Outlook for the current financial year
Based on the expected development in the first quarter of 2023, Vonovia confirms the forecast for its revenue, EBITDA and Group FFO for the financial year 2023.
“At the beginning of the year, we set the course that will significantly affect our development in the current financial year. Our core business of property management has been and remains the basis for Vonovia’s sustainable success. At the same time, the latest sales prove that our portfolio is of a high quality and therefore very much in demand. That gives us cause for optimism,” says Rolf Buch.
Vonovia’s total segment revenues are likely to be between €6.4 and €7.2 billion, and the company is expecting its EBITDA Total to range between €2.6 and €2.85 billion. The Group FFO is likely to have a bandwidth between around €1.75 and €1.95 billion. Vonovia is also confident that it will reach all the targets for its Sustainability Performance Index (SPI) in 2023.