06/13/2013 | by Allen Kenney
Taubman Centers Looking to Asia for Growth

Bobby Taubman, chairman, president and CEO with Taubman Centers, Inc. (NYSE: TCO), joined REIT.com for a CEO Spotlight video interview in Chicago at REITWeek 2013: NAREIT’s Investor Forum.

Taubman Centers was founded in 1950 and has its headquarters in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. The company held its initial public offering in 1992. Its portfolio consists of regional malls in major markets across the United States.

Taubman discussed some of the potential challenges facing his company following a recent run of strong performance.

“Our fundamentals right now are unbelievable,” Taubman said. “We’ve had three years in a row of unbelievable sales. When you’re up over 30 percent three years in a row, it creates a halo over your whole business. All the metrics in our business—occupancy, lease space, average rent growth, NOI comp growth, our spreads on leasing—all of these things are excellent metrics. We’re at the highest occupancies in our history. All the metrics are good, and it really comes from sales. At the end of the day, if tenants are doing business in your shopping center, other tenants want to be there, and they pay you more rent.”

Taubman also discussed the growth of the company’s Taubman Asia subsidiary, which is headquartered in Hong Kong. The company has recently made announcements about two deals in China and one in South Korea. Taubman described the company’s approach as “systematic” and “cautious” when it comes to expansion.

“They’re all very interesting projects,” he said. Taubman noted that all three properties are anchored by leading retailers and placed in major population centers.

“We have three great locations in three great markets,” he said. “We’re very excited about it.”

Taubman talked about the potential impact of the Marketplace Fairness Act, legislation advancing in Washington that aims to level the playing field between online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores by compelling remote sellers to collect sales tax at the time of a transaction.

“We think this is really important, because it does level the playing field,” Taubman said.