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"We are stronger than ever to face this crisis"
04 May 2020 | Susana Correia

For Miguel Pereda, Grupo Lar’s CEO and member of the board at Lar España, we are currently seeing «an exaggerated reaction from the investment market concerning REITs and retail companies». And, concerning Lar España in particular, one thing is certain: «we are stronger than ever to face this turbulence!».

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Questioned on the drops listed companies have suffered, particularly within the retail segment and on the fact that up until now they had been looked at by investors as high-yield in terms of dividend policy, Miguel Pereda argues that «the problem with Lar España and all the other retail-focused companies is that we were already not well seen by the market before the pandemic and, in my opinion, there was a lot of misunderstanding as they were trying to transfer what happened in the shopping centre sector in the US and extend that to the European continent and all its companies. So that was a situation prior to the pandemic as the use of retail was already suffering and now, on top of that, we have a storm in the stock exchange market that is affecting the shares of all primordial companies listed across all sectors, ours included».

Hence, he said, «when you compare values per sqm with what is your discounted gap, and if you take into account what is the value of the company to date, I think it is easy to understand that there has been an overreaction», he concluded. As for Lar España in particular, one of Spain’s largest REITs, focused on the retail and shopping centre segments, «in its history, one of the main points has always been its critical mass, with strong assets in the right location, etc… And from now on, these arguments will be even more valid than they were in the past! ».

Looking towards the future, Miguel Pereda believes that «in the short-term, the development pipeline is going to suffer overall, and I’m very sure that the differentiation between what are good assets and bad assets is going to increase. So, we think that having critical mass in terms of management and relationship with tenants will be key in the future and that investment in retail technology is going to be one of the factors for success. That is even more important today than it was a couple of months ago, and the strength of Lar España in all those key-aspects is now even higher than it was in the past».