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Hammerson has its rating cut after £400m retail parks deal pulled

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Retail: Dundrum Town Centre

Retail: Dundrum Town Centre

Retail: Dundrum Town Centre

Dundrum Town Centre owner Hammerson has had its rating cut by Moody's after the UK company's planned sale of £400m (€453m) of retail parks was derailed last week.

Moody's said Hammerson will find it more difficult to maintain its target leverage ratios during the pandemic, especially if property values continue to fall.

Hammerson also owns a 50pc stake in both the Ilac Centre and Pavilions Shopping Centre in Dublin, and a 40pc stake of outlet mall Kildare Village.

The group had planned to sell seven retail parks in the UK to private equity firm Orion. The parks were being sold at a discount to the value placed on them last year.

The UK sales would have marked Hammerson's complete exit from retail parks.

But last week, the group said Orion had pulled the plug on its planned purchase of the parks.

In a relatively small consolation, Hammerson is left with a non-refundable €21m deposit that had been paid by Orion.

"Hammerson has made disposals of £1.1bn in the last 12 months and it intends to continue with substantial sales in the short to medium term to further reduce debt," noted Moody's yesterday as it cut Hammerson's rating to Baa2 from Baa1.

"However, given the changed market environment, Moody's sees little chance of substantial property sales for the duration of the pandemic," it added.

"This could make it more difficult for Hammerson to maintain its target leverage ratios, especially if property values continue to fall."

Shares in Hammerson were 3.5pc higher early yesterday afternoon, but they've collapsed by 85pc since December.

Irish Independent