* Company beats own guidance for 2012 profits
* New chief Christophe Cuvillier to start in April
* Strategic focus on big malls to deliver more growth
(Adds detail, background)
PARIS, Jan 30 European real-estate group Unibail
Rodamco named a new chief executive on Wednesday and
said it would boost earnings power in 2013 on the back of new
shopping-mall developments and tenants' sales.
The company, which owns a commercial property portfolio
mostly made up of large European shopping centres, is focusing
on its biggest urban malls to up its rental power while selling
off smaller assets that it sees as more vulnerable to consumer
The strategy paid off in 2012, with Unibail reporting a 10
percent rise in annual net profit, to 1.46 billion euros ($1.98
billion). On a per-share basis, recurring profits rose by 6.7
percent - better than company guidance of 4 percent growth - and
Unibail also hiked its dividend by 5 percent, to 8.40 euros.
For 2013, Unibail said it would deliver a 5 percent increase
in recurring profits per share and named executive Christophe
Cuvillier as a replacement for outgoing CEO Guillaume Poitrinal,
starting in April. It also said that it was targeting 14 euros
in recurring profits per share by 2017.
"Unibail expects to deliver strong earnings growth in the
future," Poitrinal said in a statement.
New developments due to be unveiled next year include
extensions of Unibail malls in the French cities of Rennes and
Dijon as well as the Czech capital Prague. The company will also
open a shopping centre at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.
Unibail's pursuit of more upscale retail tenants has seen it
focus more on leisure and cinema activities at its malls and on
signing up more "premium" brands over the past three years such
as Apple, Starbucks and Tommy Hilfiger.
($1 = 0.7370 euros)
(Reporting By Lionel Laurent, editing by Blaise Robinson)