The Galeria Tecza shopping centre in Kalisz, Poland, is one of EPP’s retail properties in the Central European country. Picture: SUPPLIED
The Galeria Tecza shopping centre in Kalisz, Poland, is one of EPP’s retail properties in the Central European country. Picture: SUPPLIED

Shares in property group Echo Polska Properties (EPP) rose as much as 10% after it said Poland had lifted restrictions on all shopping malls and retail centres.

On Thursday, EPP said that it would ensure that all shopping centres in their portfolio adhered to the strict social distancing and hygiene requirements for shoppers, tenants and employees as outlined by the Polish government.

The JSE and Luxembourg-listed EPP is the largest owner of retail real-estate assets in Poland, with its portfolio of 32 properties having a total leasable area of more than one-million square metres.

All Polish shopping centres and retail locations measuring over 2,000m2 of retail space will start operating from Monday. The principles regarding social distancing will remain in place which include wearing a face mask and maintaining social distancing when in public spaces.

Restaurants will be permitted to reopen to provide takeaway food only. Entertainment facilities will, however, remain closed as the government continues to monitor the situation.

The group stated that it will continue engaging proactively with its tenants, lenders and other business partners to agree on mutually acceptable solutions during this challenging period.

At 1.38pm, the company’s share price was up 9.44% to trade at R5.10.

In March, EPP announced that it had delayed payment of €53m (about R1bn) in dividends for its year to end-December due to uncertainty over the coronavirus.

The dividend has been delayed to end-June, but the property group said it continues to assess its environment as the pandemic causes trading restrictions.

The group said it had immediately implemented strict cost-cutting measures and further optimised operations by deferring all nonessential capital expenditure and minimising operational costs.

tsobol@businesslive.co.za

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