Chief Executive’s review
Sponda achieved a stable result in 2013. Our comparable net operating income grew, and we outperformed the market with respect to the occupancy rate of office premises. The economic occupancy rate of our properties remained almost at the level of 2012. We owe thanks to our skilled personnel as well as our customers for achieving our objectives.
Offering more diverse alternatives to customers through increased focus
One of the most important milestones during the year was the revision of our strategy in the autumn. The new strategy allows us to respond even better to customer needs and the changes to these needs that have taken place in recent years. We must understand what office work will be like in the future, what types of premises are needed for this work, and how the role of shopping centres will develop. The new strategy will make Sponda even better equipped to maintain a leading role in the industry.
Going forward, we will have a stronger focus on owning, leasing and developing office properties and shopping centres in the Helsinki metropolitan area and Tampere. We are already a significant player in these markets, and by focusing on our strengths we can offer our customers a greater variety of diverse alternatives.
Stable economic occupancy rate maintained
Sponda aims to be a leading property investment company in the prime city centre areas of Helsinki and Tampere. Our most significant achievement in 2013 was maintaining our economic occupancy rate at almost the same level as in the previous year, despite circumstances that saw the market as a whole experiencing negative development. The office premises market for Sponda showed encouraging signs of recovery late in the year. The economic occupancy rate for shopping centres declined slightly, while that of logistics properties remained unchanged.
New property development project in Ilmala
One of the key events during the year was the decision in December 2013 to start a new property development project in spring 2014. Sponda will develop an office complex for use by Sweco Oy in Helsinki’s Ilmala district, at a location with excellent public transport links. International LEED environmental certification will be sought for the low-energy office complex. In 2013, Sponda completed the multi-year renovation of the Citycenter shopping centre in Helsinki’s central business district, as well as the construction of an office building for use by Talentum Oyj in Ruoholahti. Also in Ruoholahti, we started a project in 2013 to modernise an office building for use by Sanoma Magazines Finland Ltd and Sanoma Pro Ltd.
Quality and environmental issues as competitive advantages
Growing and developing our property portfolio in key strategic areas allows us to respond to the needs of customers who seek business premises, as properties in central locations are in high demand. Our consistent and high-quality services support our customers in their day-to-day operations and allow them to focus on their own business. As a lessor, Sponda has the capacity to assist customers in many ways, such as helping them develop the energy and environmental efficiency of their premises. These are all factors that give us a greater competitive advantage.
Slow positive development expected in 2014
The economic occupancy rate of the Group’s properties in 2014 is expected to remain largely unchanged from 2013. In the first quarter, however, the occupancy rate is expected to decline slightly. This estimate is based on the slow positive development of the Finnish economy as well as current information on expiring leases.
Comparable net operating income in 2014 is expected to be at the same level as in 2013. This view is based on the early 2014 estimate of the development of rent levels and vacancy rates for Sponda’s properties.
I would like to thank our shareholders for their trust in our company and our customers for their valuable partnership. I also wish to thank our skilled and professional personnel, who helped us achieve a stable result despite very difficult market conditions.
President and CEO