February 6, 2019 / 6:10 PM / 10 months ago

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Klepierre less upbeat on 2019 after forecast-beating results

(Corrects title to chairman of executive board in paragraph 4, adds dropped word ‘percent’ in paragraph 7, corrects dividend to 2.1 euros in paragraph 9)

Feb 6 (Reuters) - French shopping centre operator Klepierre is cautious about prospects for the current year after reporting 2018 results on Wednesday that beat forecasts.

Klepierre’s guidance for the current year for net current cashflow per share was between 2.72 and 2.75 euros ($3.10-$3.13), up 2.6-3.8 percent from last year.

This compared with a 6.5 percent rise in its full-year net current cashflow per share for 2018 to 2.65 euros, above the upper end of the company’s forecast range of 2.62 euros.

The chairman of Klepierre’s executive board, Jean-Marc Jestin, said on a call with reporters the company usually provides “conservative” guidance at the beginning of the year due to its business being exposed to different macroeconomic factors.

He also said outlook upgrades were not expected. Last July, Klepierre had raised its full-year net current cash flow guidance.

Total retailer sales at Klepierre’s shopping centres rose by 0.9 percent year-on-year, held back by a 0.7-percent decrease in France, Klepierre’s largest market. This resulted from a significant impact from the “yellow vests” protests on shop openings in around 15 percent of its shopping centres in the country.

“We don’t predict further disruptions, we have nevertheless considered them for our guidance proves a bit more cautious but it’s, again, a bit our style,” Jestin said.

Rising net rental income, reduced debt and completion of a share buy-back programme boosted profits last year, the company said, leading to a 7.1 percent increase in the dividend to 2.10 euros per share and a new 400 million euro share buy-back.

Klepierre last year tried to expand into Britain via a takeover of shopping mall owner Hammerson but this was rejected. ($1 = 0.8788 euros) (Reporting by Piotr Lipinski in Gdynia Editing by Susan Fenton and Jane Merriman)

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