The housing giant Vonovia wants to reduce its billions in debt through real estate sales. As the group announced, real estate worth around 13 billion euros is to be sold. Vonovia will sell these apartments and apartment buildings in the coming years. "It has nothing to do with a sell-out," assured CEO Rolf Buch. At the subsidiary Deutsche Wohnen, the nursing home division is also under scrutiny.
This is the Group's response to the consequences of increased capital costs caused by the interest rate hike by the European Central Bank, following a significant increase in profits in the first half of the year. "In times of higher interest rates, it makes sense to reduce debt," says Buch. This has already happened in the first half of the year. In the first six months, Vonovia was able to increase its profit from operating business to more than one billion euros.
No takeover of the Adler Group
The group was able to benefit above all from the takeover of the smaller competitor Deutsche Wohnen. Vonovia swallowed up Deutsche Wohnen last year, and the group currently has around 550,000 apartments. Vonovia paid around 17 billion euros for the acquisition.
The group ruled out further takeovers for the time being: "The markets have changed, and that's why the original idea of taking over the Adler Group is definitely off the table for us," said Buch. Vonovia holds around 20.5 percent of Adler. Due to the fall in Adler's share price, Vonovia had to devalue the stake by around EUR 160 million in the first half of the year.
Nevertheless, the group confirmed its forecasts: Vonovia expects growth of more than 20 percent in the current year. Investors were pleased with today's announcements: Vonovia's shares rose by 2.8 percent.
"Country can turn down gas heaters further"
The tenants are facing significantly higher ancillary cost bills due to the rapid increase in energy costs. "Against this background, we support the federal government's approach of agreeing on a temporary moratorium on terminating tenants," stressed Buch. However, such a moratorium only represents a deferral of unpaid bills – "financially overwhelmed households" should "receive appropriate support" from the public sector.
Vonovia had already announced that it would reduce gas central heating output to 17 degrees Celsius between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. 55 percent of the heating in the Vonovia apartments is supplied with gas. Buch supported demands from competitor LEG Immobilien for legal options to be able to lower temperatures more than before. This is also in the interest of the tenants. "This country can turn down the heating even further," emphasized Buch.