Akropolis Group, the leading shopping and entertainment centre development and management company in the Baltic countries, worked profitably in the first half of this year. In the first half of 2021, Akropolis Group earned €36 million in revenue and €27 million in EBITDA – respectively 6% and 4% less than in January–June 2020, given that in the first quarter of this year only a third of retail space was operating in shopping centres due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
According to the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Akropolis Group Manfredas Dargužis, the results of the first half of this year were affected significantly by the operational restrictions related to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the results of the first and the second quarters differ substantially.
“In the first half of this year, Akropolis Group’s shopping and entertainment centres continued to be affected by the pandemic. In the first quarter, only shops selling first necessity goods were allowed to operate. However, in the second quarter of the year – when the stores in Lithuania’s Akropolis opened with full-capacity in the second half of April, and in Riga’s Akropole at the beginning of June – we have welcomed over one and a half times more customers. The second quarter tenant turnover of Lithuania’s Akropolis shopping centres was already considerably higher than last year. In June the tenant turnover in all 4 shopping centres was record breaking for this month. This confirms that shoppers continue to opt for in-person shopping in shopping centres,” M. Dargužis said.
In the first half of 2021, the turnover of Akropolis tenants in the Baltic States amounted to €225 million, or 18% less than a year ago. This corresponds to €69 million in the first quarter and €155 million in the second quarter, with a gradual resumption of operations. The turnover of tenants in the second quarter was by 224% higher compared to the first quarter of the year and by 24% higher than the turnover in the second quarter of 2020. In June 2021, then all shops in all 4 shopping centres resumed full scale operations, the record breaking tenant turnover for this month was recorded, it exceeded previous best year’s result by 13 percent.
In the first half of this year, Akropolis in Vilnius, Klaipėda, Šiauliai, and Riga welcomed a total of 11 million visitors, which is 23% less than in the same period last year. January–March footfall amounted to 4 million visitors, and in April–June the footfall increased to 7 million. In the second quarter, the footfall in Akropolis shopping centres was by 154% higher compared to the first quarter of the year and by 16% higher than in the second quarter of 2020.
“Prompt response to the changing situation and constructive cooperation with partners allowed us to minimise the negative impact resulting from the restrictions. We remain optimistic due to the fact that the vacancy rate in Akropolis remains extremely low. In the first half of the year, we had about 1% vacant premises. Despite the pandemic, we reached an extremely high level of receivables collection in the first half of the year, reaching almost 98%, which was higher than last year. We are confident about the prospects of our operations and we highly value the loyalty of our tenants. We continue to invest to maintain our market leader position and to provide a safe shopping environment for shopping centre visitors and employees,” M. Dargužis said.
At the end of the first half of 2021, Akropolis Group signed an agreement with AMD Holding on the acquisition of 100% of the shares of the Latvian company Delta Property. The company owns a 9.7-hectare land plot at 372 Brivibas Street in Riga, Latvia, and a building which houses the 154,000-square-meter Alfa shopping centre. The acquisition is planned to be closed as soon as the Latvian Competition Council grants the permission.
The Akropolis centres in Vilnius, Klaipėda and Šiauliai have earned recognition from the BRE Global organisation: these shopping and entertainment centres and the Vilnius Akropolis business centre have been issued with international BREEAM In-Use building sustainability certificates. The Šiauliai Akropolis was rated “Very Good,” while the Vilnius and the Klaipėda Akropolis and the Vilnius Akropolis business centre were rated “Good.”
To strengthen the Akropolis Group’s management efficiency, the company also established an audit committee. Three persons have been appointed as members of the Audit Committee for a four-year term: two independent members – Eglė Čiužaitė and Šarūnas Radavičius – and Lukas Bendoraitis, Financial Controller at Vilniaus Prekyba.
To divest non-core activities and non-income producing assets, Biruliškių Turtas, a company owned by Akropolis Group, sold a 12.5-hectare plot near Kaunas for an undisclosed sum in September.