24.03.2020

CoronaVirus National News 19-24 MARCH

Follow our news to get the latest updates on the current industry situation.

 

19 March 2020

 

GOVERNMENT / STATE NEWS

The PM alongside President announced the “Anti-crisis shield” scheme of PLN 212bn available in different forms. The details are being now formulated into legal documents now. So far Ministry of Finance presented proposed support (yet to be finalised):

  • Possibility of reverse settlement of tax losses (PIT and CIT)
  • Commercial real estate tax for March – May 2020 to be deferred till 20 July 2020
  • Softening of income tax regulations on bad debt 
  • Softening of regulations for advance tax payers
  • Allowing local authorities (“Gmina”) for real estate tax exemptions (if loss reported)
  • Possibility of abolition for tax control during crisis time
  • And some others

 

Details available at:

 https://www.gov.pl/web/finanse/rozwiazania-mf-w-pakiecie-dzialan-tarczy-antykryzysowej

 

Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (a state development bank) has started works on launching additional help package for companies. Details to be published soon

 

 

Other state actions:

  • Introduction of smartphone quarantine smartphone app
  • Increase on contactless payments from PLN 50 to PLN 100 – to be introduced on Thursday / Friday but may not be available across whole Poland
  • NBP (Polish Central Bank) to buy polish gilts to reduce economic risk

 

Wig20 increased by +4.86%.

 

 

INDUSTRY

Napollo (Owner/Manager): First publicly announced rent reduction of 10% in March and 14-day rental holiday in April for all closed (under ordinance of the Minister of Health from March 13th) premises.

 

Złote Tarasy (Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield): Landlord forcing tenants to re-open, despite the Ministry’s ordination – which in fact cause disputable interpretation of “can-open” stores.

 

The above news fuelled the industry WhatsApp discussion (led by Retail Institute) to the next level: views on the approached were shared (at least by some) and a conference called is being organised on Friday 12:00 CET among the Landlord to discuss the issue. It is known that already some Landlords issued the notice to apply penalties to tenants who should operate under Ministry’s ordinance.

 

PRCH will take part in videoconference between Council of Entrepreneurs (Rada Przedsiębiorców) and Commissioner for small and medium-sized enterprises that takes place on Friday 10am CET.

 

C&W indicate courier companies with efficient warehouse system to be winners of current situation (by 2023 should be handling up to 850 mln parcels worth up to PLN 12 bln).

 

 

RETAILERS AND SMALL BUSINESS MATTERS

Vistula Retail Group: expecting online sales at 24% of revenue for Q1 (vs 15.5% last year)

CCC Group: expecting online sales at 45% of revenue in March (vs 25% last year)

 

The management board of Żabka Polska, the owner of the largest chain of convenience stores in Central and Eastern Europe, decided to transfer over €1 million for activities addressing the epidemiological threat.

 

 

CIVIL NEWS AND REACTIONS

Epidemiological status in Poland data from 17:55 on 19.03.2020

Number of confirmed cases SARS-CoV-2: 355

Number of fatalities: 5

Number of recoveries: 1

 

 

OTHER

UK

  • The pound sterling against dollar has fallen to its lowest level since 1985.
  • Michel Barnier (EU’s Brexit negotiator) has been tested positive for coronavirus
  • Schools to be partially closed from Friday
  • London Underground: 40 stations to be closed
  • The interest rates decreased from 0.25% to, the lowest in 325-year history, 0.1%

 

Poland

  • Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Groupe PSA and FCA suspend production cars in their factories in Europe, also in Poland.

 

CHINA

  • No new cases of coronavirus officially reported in region of Wuhan city

 

WORLD

  • Cursed Olympics every 40 years: 1940 cancelled due to WWII, 1980 many countries boycotted the competition in Moscow, 2020 Coronavirus….

 

 

COMMUNICATION RECOMMENDATIONS

TBC

 

 

 

20 March 2020

 

GOVERNMENT / STATE NEWS

The legislation regarding “Anti-crisis shield” scheme of PLN 212bn is not ready yet.

 

One of the deputies in Ministry of Agriculture is infected by coronavirus.

 

Eurodeputy Adam Jarubas has confirmed to be tested positive for the virus.

 

WSE opened higher today and seems to close in the green at the end of the week. Wig20 is still increasing today.

 

The Monetary Policy Council decided to set the NBP interest rates at the following levels (entered into force on 18 March 2020):

  • reference rate at 1.00% on an annual basis;
  • lombard rate at 1.50% on an annual basis;
  • deposit rate at 0.50% on an annual basis;
  • rediscount rate at 1.05% on an annual basis;
  • discount rate on bills of exchange at 1.10% on an annual basis;

 

Other state actions:

  • Smartphone quarantine app already available on Google Play and App Store. The app may only be used by those sent to quarantine.

 

INDUSTRY

The newly established Polish Trade and Services Employers’ Association presented its postulates.

Details are available at: https://www.across-magazine.com/polish-companies-unite-and-establish-the-polish-trade-and-services-employers-association/

 

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield confirms that the group now has €10.2 bn in cash on hand and undrawn credit lines, which provides it with the liquidity needed to cover all expected funding needs even under an extreme “stress test” scenario.

 

RETAILERS AND SMALL BUSINESS MATTERS

InPost resigned from collecting signatures by couriers. Pickup is possible by providing just sms code and courier leaves the parcel at safe distance. Parcels at self-pickup points will be distributed 7 days a week.

 

Agata S.A., the various furniture lines provider with 29 big-box stores in Poland, decided to donate 1 million PLN for the purchase of medical equipment to fight coronavirus pandemic.

 

CCC plans to issue up to 13.7mn stocks (no subscription right) to raise additional PLN 400-500mn.

 

CIVIL NEWS AND REACTIONS

Epidemiological status in Poland data from 16:15 on 20.03.2020

Number of confirmed cases SARS-CoV-2: 411

Number of fatalities: 5

Number of recoveries: 1

 

OTHER

EUROPE

  • Netflix and YouTube are slowing down in Europe to keep the internet from breaking.
  • Spain, the second most visited country in the world in 2018, is closing all hotels.
  • UK is shutting its schools from Monday - with some exceptions.
  • Prince Albert II of Monaco has tested positive for coronavirus.

 

WORLD

  • Next day of no new cases of coronavirus officially reported in region of Wuhan city.
  • California has issued a "stay at home" order to residents.
  • US stocks kicked the day off in the green on Friday.

 

COMMUNICATION RECOMMENDATIONS

TBC

 

 

 

 

 

21 March 2020

 

GOVERNMENT / STATE NEWS

The legislation regarding “Anti-crisis shield” scheme of PLN 212bn is not ready yet.

 

On 20th March, the government issued new ordinance of Ministry of Health, which amends the previously published (13th March) document. The document more precisely explain which stores can and which cannot be open during the period of pandemic. It should help legal interpretation for disputable “can/must not - open” matter.

 

 

INDUSTRY

 

The news from industry WhatsApp: PRCH was not directly involved in the minister’s 20th March ordinance, however have looked at the initial government document of support for business – which may include “rental holiday” for tenants who are forbidden to open during this time – that info will be confirmed once the full support package will be produced!

 

Meanwhile, Ingka Centres sent the letter to tenants stating that no penalties will be accounted for tenants changing their opening hours or not opening at all – however full rent, service charge and marketing fee will be waived for tenants who are subject of operational limitation under government’s ordinance.

 

Representatives of newly created Association of Retailers are very active in the local news calling for support from Owners of shopping centres. There some case of comments from Retailers which may be misleading for general public, indicating the shopping centres to be closed.

 

C&W is organising webinar of 23.03 at 10:00 CDT for discussion of current situation.

 

PINK is organising webinar on 25.03 at 11:00 CET relating on lease, transactions, financing and tax issues.

 

Retail Institute actively seeks for comments from the industry to publish a letter to government seeking help from Owners and Manager of shopping centres.

 

 

RETAILERS AND SMALL BUSINESS MATTERS

 

 

CIVIL NEWS AND REACTIONS

Epidemiological status in Poland data from 18:00 21.03.2020

Number of confirmed cases SARS-CoV-2: 525

Number of fatalities: 5

Number of recoveries: 1

OTHER

EUROPE

  • UK – pubs are closed from Friday evening !!!!!!!

 

COMMUNICATION RECOMMENDATIONS

TBC

 

 

 

23 March 2020

 

GOVERNMENT / STATE NEWS

The legislation regarding “Anti-crisis shield” scheme of PLN 212bn is not ready yet. A meeting of the National Security Council on the "Anti-crisis shield" took place yesterday.

 

The timeline of government legislation (according to PRCH info):

  • Tuesday (24.03) – government approves the law
  • Friday (27.03) – the Parliament approves the law
  • Next week – Senate / President
  • 1st April (apparently not a joke) – date of enforcement of the law

 

According to Puls Biznesu, some of the proposed solutions that apply to RE are as follows (yet to be confirmed):

  • A 90% reduction of rent in retail properties bigger than 2,000 sq m, if the tenant's activity has been restricted by law. This does not apply to service charges. The tenant is also not responsible for the breach of the lease agreement.
  • Prolongation of the lease agreements concluded before the entry into force of the Act, and which expire after that date, until June 30 if the tenant makes such a declaration (it does not apply to tenants with overdue payments).
  • Prohibition of termination of lease agreements until 30 June (non-residential premises - this does not apply to the situation when termination is related to the violation of the contract by the tenant).
  • Payment date of the perpetual usufruct fee for 2020 to be deferred until June 30.
  • Allow goods to be delivered to shops on Sundays but trade ban on Sundays remained.
  • Introduction of the possibility to hold meetings and votes of the boards and supervisory boards of sp. z o.o. and S.A.

Draft of the act is available at: https://static.pb.pl/atta/3588-projekt-ustawy-o-tarczy-antykryzysowej.pdf

 

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of the ruling party, the conservative Law and Justice (PiS), recently said that there are no reasons to change the election date at the moment (the May 10 presidential election). PiS supports the incumbent president, Andrzej Duda.

 

State of Epidemic was declared in Poland on Friday.

 

Wig20 dropped by -5,57%.

 

INDUSTRY

The landlords call was held today led by PRCH in order to finalise the position of LL against proposed law:

In summary:

  • The postulates submitted by the Government are only from the side of tenants, no point of view of landlords
  • It is worth considering the solution adopted in Germany - If the tenant goes bankrupt, the government will pay the landlord 80% of the rent due from the tenant
  • Unanimous support for the restoration of trade on Sunday
  • A proposal to support employee subsidies
  • Proposed settlement with the VAT / CIT cash register method
  • Rents should not be reduced - only deferred, eg until 2021, where they would be repaid in instalments
  • Unanimous consent to extend the lease agreements with tenants for the time of closing the premises during quarantine (what if new contracts for these premises have already been signed?)
  • Lack of consent to exempt tenants from rent
  • Consent to bypass the issue of service chargers in the postulates
  • Shift of interest on loans
  • Postulate change towards banks - change from bank to bank may be required to restructure the loan
  • Add bankruptcy protection for debts incurred during the crisis
  • Restore trade on Sunday

 

PRCH is now presenting the Landlords position to the government. In parallel there was another group created to discuss the issue and act against proposed plan. The decision makers of the biggest investors in Poland are using political channels (incl. foreign embassys in Poland) to fight against the solutions proposed in the new law.

 

PINK sent comments to Ministry of Development's proposal concerning a special law called the "Anti-Crisis Shield".

Details available at https://stowarzyszeniepink.org.pl/lib/hkeglk/2020_03_22PINK_uwagi_do_tarczy-k84i6luo.pdf

 

RETAILERS AND SMALL BUSINESS MATTERS

After a bad PR of LPP buying all protective masks in Poland to secure the employees in China, LPP decided to donate PLN 1 million to purchase protective masks for isolation hospitals.

 

Vapiano declared a cash flow insolvency.

 

CIVIL NEWS AND REACTIONS

Epidemiological status in Poland data from 16:45 on 23.03.2020

Number of confirmed cases SARS-CoV-2: 692

Number of fatalities: 8

Number of recoveries: 1

 

OTHER

UK

  • Full list of retailers (so far) that have temporarily shut their UK high street stores:
    • John Lewis, Clarks, Ikea, Arcadia Group (Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Miss Selfridge, Wallis, Evans), New Look, River Island, H&M Group (Weekday, Arket, Monki, Cos, H&M Home, & Other Stories, H&M), Inditex (Zara, Bershka, Stradivarius, Pull & Bear, Massimo Dutti, Zara Home), TK Maxx, Reiss, Selfridges, Harrods, Fenwick, Liberty London, Harvey Nichols, The Body Shop, Boden, Michael Kors, Gap, Oasis and Warehouse, Monsoon, Oxfam, The British Heart Foundation, Lego, Abercrombie & Fitch, Apple, Calvin Klein Sweaty Betty

EUROPE

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel goes into self-quarantine.
  • The EBRD has launched an emergency package worth an Initial €1 billion to support companies in its countries suffering because of the crisis.
  • Energy assets are getting cheaper on European stocks.
  • Italy shuts down all non-essential manufacturing activities.
  • Amrest closed 143 restaurants in Spain.

 

WORLD

  • Similar to the previous week stocks get off to a rocky start to the week, despite National Bank’s rescue efforts.
  • 7 Korean companies received the governmental approval to export their COVID-19 test kits.
  • Stocks are deep in the red in the US.

 

COMMUNICATION RECOMMENDATIONS

TBC

 

 

 

 

 

24 March 2020

 

GOVERNMENT / STATE NEWS

The government declared that the date of enforcement of legislation regarding “Anti-crisis shield” shall be April 1 (even if legislation process will take longer).

 

The government act amendment was planned to delivered today, but was delayed – hopefully by the wise voice of the industry!

 

The government introduced tough measures today including restrictions on movement and limit of gatherings to two people, social distancing.

 

Wig20  +3.24 %

 

INDUSTRY

PRCH held a call with Ombudsman of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, who supports positions of the shopping centre industry regarding regulation of the rent during the crisis period.

 

Also Minister of Development has received a letter with postulates of landlords through PRCH which includes:

  1. statutory support of employees and employers,
  2. changing proposed 90% of rent reduction to deferral of the rent and then spread in equal instalments over 12 months (unless landlord and tenant agree different payment plan),
  3. introduction of cash accounting VAT and CIT method,
  4. flexibility in lease extension during the period
  5. security against bankruptcy
  6. Sunday trade ban to be removed up to 2021
  7. Clarification of state of epidemic definition
  8. the epidemic state should also limit of operations in the building of retail sale of less than 2,000 sqm

 

Rafal Sonik (Gemini Holding) along other Polish investors are very active against proposed government amendment to the act. At the same time, other group of investors is directly contacting the office of the Prime Minister to abolish the idea of state regulated rent discount – all of the investors are speaking the same voice through different channels.

 

Retail Institute publishes the report why shopping centres need urgent support from the government:

https://einstitute.com.pl/raport-dlaczego-centra-i-sieci-handlowe-potrzebuja-pilnego-wsparcia-od-rzadu/

 

 

NEPI Rockcastle, a leading Central and Eastern European real estate investment group, has donated this month 150,000 EUR to the Red Cross international organization to support efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 epidemic. 

 

PwC conducted online survey across the world (between 15-17 March!) regard general sentiment of market participants: “there is a general assumption that the pandemic will have a negative impact on the real estate industry. A majority of 74% assumes negative effects while 24% are not sure about the consequences”.

 

 

RETAILERS AND SMALL BUSINESS MATTERS

Uber is going to give 10k free rides for medical staff in Poland. First special codes have already been distributed to medical institutions.

 

Grocery stores decided to implement a technical break during a day due to health and safety reasons.

 

CIVIL NEWS AND REACTIONS

Epidemiological status in Poland data from 13:30 on 24.03.2020

Number of confirmed cases SARS-CoV-2: 749

Number of fatalities: 8

Number of recoveries: 1

 

OTHER

UK

  • Restriction on movement in UK introduced on Monday evening – choose wise, there are only 4 options: necessity shopping, daily outdoor sport, any medical need or help a vulnerable person, travelling to and from work (if cannot be done from home)

 

WORLD

  • Stocks are in the green across the world today, but still negative long term trend
  • Japan's Prime Minister and International Olympic Committee (IOC) agreed on Tuesday to postpone the Olympics until 2021.
  • WHO warned today that the United States has the potential to become the new epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic due to a “very large acceleration” in infections there.

 

COMMUNICATION RECOMMENDATIONS

TBC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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