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Opinion – Marcos de Vasconcellos: Christmas is right around the corner; How about buying a mall?


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Christmas is right there. Full stores, decorated houses and that long credit card bill await us around the corner. Going to the mall to do your shopping is looking more and more difficult, but maybe it’s time to think about buying the mall itself. Or at least a piece of it.

I have spoken, in recent days, with managers of different real estate funds. And the fact is that malls’ shares never recovered from the chaos that brought down the entire market there in 2020. While their networks, in real life, are going through good times.

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Indeed, if we look at the graphs, it is quite simple to see: the Ibovespa is worth, today, in the midst of the stormy weather of the presidential exchange, 5% less than what it scored at the beginning of 2020, before the pandemic. Major shopping mall stocks are well below that.

Compared to January 2020, Aliansce Sonae (ALSO3) shares cost 65% less; while those at BR Malls (BRML3) are about 55% cheaper; Multiplan’s shares (MULT3) are traded at around 30% less; while those of the Iguatemi network (IGTI11) fell by around 10%.

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It cannot be denied that years of living with Covid-19 have made life and profitability difficult for shopping centers. But look carefully: the results presented by these companies in this last quarter were quite celebrated. All much better than the same period last year. In relation to 2020, it is not even said.

If you, like me, are not a big customer, let me tell you: it is very difficult to see empty stores in malls in large centers. The numbers reflect this. Rental income is doing very well, thank you.

And the business owners noticed the opportunity to negotiate at low prices. This week, Cade (Administrative Council for Economic Defense) approved the mega merger between Alliansce Sonae and BR Malls. The company that will result from this will have around 70 malls in its portfolio, with an estimated market value close to R$ 12 billion.

Valuations for the new business were upbeat. XP, Genial Investimentos and the analysis firm Levante showed good prospects. BTG Pactual analysts recommend buying ALSO3 shares with a target price of BRL 41. Today, they cost around BRL 17.

But the sector does not live only on actions. Shopping malls are highly sought after by those who want an investment portfolio with so-called “passive income”, that is, dividends steadily falling into their account. In this case, through real estate funds (FIIs).

The FIIs in shopping malls have an interesting detail: part of what they pay their shareholders is linked to the revenue of the stores (since a mall cannot live on rent alone).

Thus, they are directly exposed to economic activity. And on the eve of Christmas it tends to be more intense, obviously.

Recently, analysts at XP stated that the current price discounts for sector funds present good opportunities for medium and long-term oriented investors.

Connecting the dots, if 10 out of 10 economists predict that the new PT government should encourage consumption, while there are investments that are considered to be below fair prices and could yield good results from this incentive, it is a good time to assess opportunities in the market. And maybe go shopping a little differently this Christmas Eve.

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I have over 10 years of experience working in the news industry. I have worked for several different news organizations, including a large news website like News Bulletin 247. I am an expert in the field of economics and have written several books on the subject. I am a highly skilled writer and editor, and have a strong knowledge of social media. I am a highly respected member of the news industry, and my work has been featured in many major publications.

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