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Aedes: the challenge is to return paying dividends

11 December, La Stampa

Established 12 ago, Aedes Siiq is the oldest real estate agency in Italy. Giuseppe Roveda has been guiding the company since 2012, appointed by the Amenduni family, the main shareholder. In a few years, the manager has dragged the company out of the crisis that started in 2008. Today, Roveda, the man that brought outlets in Italy with Serravalle, aims at a new direction for the growth of the company specialised in the retail and office segments, with a priority: “Returning paying dividends”. The main project is called Caselle Open Mall. Not a simple shopping centre, but a new model that the company is planning to open by 2020 and that would be able to deal with the competition of e-commerce. To study the phenomenon, Roveda went to the United States. “There – he tells – We’d realised that the traditional malls were suffering, the usual model hypermarket plus commercial arcades had started showing some flaws….”

Is the sector at risk then?

“Not exactly. Many American malls have closed, are closing and will close. But we need to analyse the causes. Firstly, unlike Europe, in the USA there are too many of them. Today, they’re suffering from a sort of overdose and from the growth of e-commerce”.

What will you change of the Caselle Torinese project?

“We’ve spent the last five years studying the possible alternatives. We understood that recession and technology have changed the way of consuming. Nowadays, people don’t go to the shopping centre just to make purchases. It’s necessary to offer more than just shops”.

How will Caselle Open Mall be like?

“It won’t be a shopping centre, rather a “destination centre” where it will be possible to find in just one place edutainment, we’ve made an agreement with National Geographic for this purpose, entertainment, for which we’ll make soon another alliance, wellness and, obviously, retail. But with new modalities. It will be a city on its own, with its mobility, its streets and squares”.

Do you think to win the battle with e-commerce?

“E-commerce won’t replace retail completely. What matters is the experience offered to the consumer. Ours will be a retail offer both offline and online. We’re not offering just one sales channel. Consumers can choose how to buy: in the physical or in the virtual shop, many options for an increasingly more liquid way to shop”.

How much are you investing in Caselle?

“The investment is for 350 million-euro, net of land cost”.

Is this a project you intend to export to renew other centres?

“A 13 thousand Sq m project with 11 years of paperwork is not easy to repeat. In the future, we may transform the oldest shopping centres, those created in the Eighties. But they need to be suitable places, with an interesting catchment area and a forward-looking management. The same is true for the recovery of disused industrial areas, but it’ll take a smarter regulation, especially concerning the approval times”.

What are the other projects?

“We’re planning to complete the retail park as well as the outlet in Serravalle. Regarding the investments on properties for rental, we’re looking at the office segment. In this case, we’re aiming at Milan. We already have the plan to renovate two buildings, a couple of days ago we’ve made a preliminary plan to buy two other towers. Concerning retail, we’re looking at the whole Italy, in San Marino, an outlet will open soon thanks to the collaboration with the group Borletti”.

You took the guidance of Aedes in 2012 and you’ve dragged the company out of the recession. What is now your priority?

“After the restructuring plan that saw the entrance of new partners gathered under the holding Augusto, where, besides Amenduni, there are also the fund Sator of Matteo Arpe and myself, a new course of the company has stared. In 2015 we registered profits for 6 million, last year they were about 30. Now, our first objective is to return paying dividends, starting already from the 2018 financial year”.

What else will it be necessary?

“On 2nd August we set the guidelines for the new strategic plan. It will be approved once we have all the elements”.

What is the main one?

“We need to strengthen our assets. A capital increase is not to be excluded and we’re evaluating several options”.

Which dimensions does Aedes want to achieve?

“In terms of real estate portfolio, we want to go from the current 545 million to 1.6 billion”.

Are you happy that PIRs are now extended also to real estate?

“It will be a positive factor. The threat of a bubble? Managers have to make the right choices. But we as Siiq (listed real estate investment companies) are the ideal containers of PIRs since we’re internationally structured organizations subject to transparency obligations”.

Is Aedes, after 112 years, ready for a partnership?

“First the company has to strengthen and reach the suitable dimensions, then we may evaluate the possibility”.

Source: La Stampa

Translator: Cristina Ambrosi

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