Dundrum Town Centre landlord in wait-and-see mode ahead of takeover move
Hammerson, who's portfolio includes Dundrum Town Centre, will not finalise its £3.4bn tie-up with Intu as it awaits clarity on a takeover approach from European rival Klepierre.
The shopping centre giant said in a trading statement that while Klepierre's position "remains unclear", the board does "not intend to finalise shareholder documents in relation to the proposed acquisition of Intu".
Hammerson has branded Klepierre's £4.88bn cash-and-shares offer "wholly inadequate" and "entirely opportunistic", but the French firm has until April 16 to "put up or shut up" with a formal offer.
Bull Ring owner Hammerson would prefer to press ahead with an all-share takeover of rival Intu, which would create Britain's biggest property company with £21bn worth of assets across Europe.
Intu operates the Trafford Centre in Manchester, while Hammerson owns the Bicester Village and Brent Cross shopping centres in the UK as well as operating the Ilac and Swords Pavilions in Ireland.
Hammerson also shed some light on first-quarter trading, pointing to a combination of severe weather and subdued consumer confidence weighing on UK retail sales, which were down 2pc.
However, Hammerson said that its shopping centres outperformed the market with Bicester Village delivering a double-digit increase in the period.
Footfall at Hammerson's UK centres was up 0.5pc over the quarter and up 5pc over the Easter weekend.
The group also flagged a £3.5m hit to net rental income from the wave of retail restructurings and administrations that have afflicted the sector, including Toys R Us and New Look.
David Atkins, Hammerson chief executive, said: "Whilst we recognise the difficult trading environment and challenges felt by many retail and restaurant formats in the UK, there continues to be good demand for space across our centres."
The value of Hammerson's assets rose 0.3pc to over £10.5bn and the firm said it would offload £500m worth of properties over the year.