April 23, 2014 / 5:56 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Klepierre first quarter revenue slips on disposals, forex drag

* Overall revenues down 0.3 pct to 256.3 mln eur

* Shopping centre gross rents reach 221.9 mln eur

* Weak Scandinavian currencies weigh (Adds deputy CEO, COO comments, details)

PARIS, April 23 (Reuters) - Klepierre reported a slight dip in first-quarter revenues as asset disposals and currency fluctuations in Scandinavia weighed on rental income growth.

Klepierre’s strategy of focusing on its large European shopping centres while shifting out of the office market has helped it resist the sluggish economic environment.

Overall revenues slipped 0.3 percent to 256.3 million euros ($354.45 million) versus 257.2 million in the same period a year ago, with 221.9 million euros coming from shopping centres.

Shopping centre gross rents were up 1.1 percent on a like-for-like basis, but unchanged on a current basis due to the disposal of five centres in Norway and one in France.

Klepierre disposed of 127 non-core assets in France, Spain and Italy to Carrefour this year.

Italy, Portugal and Central Europe posted significantly better retail sales than last year, the company said. Sales in French shopping centres have been under pressure, but Klepierre said it still manages to increase rents due to rising demand from retailers for space in popular malls.

“There is still some room for improvement in rent,” Jean-Marc Jestin, Chief Operating Officer, told reporters on a call.

France and Belgium account for 47.2 percent of Klepierre’s rents, while Scandinavia is its second-biggest market contributing 23.6 percent of rents in 2013.

“In Norway and Sweden ... currency fluctuations had a negative impact on growth for the quarter on a current basis,” Klepierre said in its statement.

The Swedish crown has fallen around 3 percent against the euro so far this year, while the Danish crown and the Norwegian crown were little changed or stronger against the euro currency.

Jean-Michel Gault, Deputy CEO of Klepierre, told reporters that the depreciation of some Scandinavian currencies “could have an impact on Klepierre’s bottom-line this year”, while the effect would be partly mitigated by hedging operations.

The company, which is part-owned by BNP Paribas and Simon Property Group, confirmed in its trading update that it expected for 2014 a net current cash flow of at least 2 euros a share.

European real estate group Unibail-Rodamco confirmed its target for full-year recurring earnings per share growth of at least 5.5 percent on Tuesday after a “moderate pick-up” in the European economy helped drive first-quarter turnover higher. ($1 = 0.7231 Euros) (Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva; Editing by Natalie Huet; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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