Tuesday 21 January 2020

Hammerson hints at wider disposal plan after sale of two sites for £164m

The company is set to release its half-year results on Tuesday.

Shoppers at the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham, owned by Hammerson (PA)
Shoppers at the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham, owned by Hammerson (PA)

By Kalyeena Makortoff, Press Association Chief City Correspondent

Hammerson has announced the sale of two retail parks for £164 million as it gears up for a raft of disposals meant to pacify shareholders during its half-year results.

The Birmingham Bullring owner said it has exchanged contracts for both the Imperial Retail Park in Bristol and the Fife Central Retail Park in Kirkcaldy.

The sites were acquired by the company in 2012 and 2005 respectively.

Its brings Hammerson’s total proceeds from disposals this year to £300 million.

Chief executive David Atkins said there was more news to come during the company’s half-year results on Tuesday.

“We continue to see opportunities to dispose of selected assets in order to better deploy capital on behalf of our shareholders.

With £300 million of sales achieved this year, we are already over halfway to reaching our planned disposal target for 2018.

“We look forward to providing a further update on disposals and capital deployment tomorrow when we report our half-year results.”

Hammerson is tipped to unveil a new strategic plan that is meant to address shareholder anger after the company ditched plans to buy its rival Intu, which operates the Trafford Centre in Manchester.

The deal with Intu was set to create Britain’s biggest property company, with £21 billion worth of assets across Europe.

Hammerson and Intu officially called off the £3.4 billion deal in late April after the Bullring owner withdrew a recommendation for shareholders to vote through the acquisition.

It had said that the takeover was “no longer in the best interest of shareholders”, citing growing dismay over the health of the UK retail property market.

Once released from the deal, it brought an end to months of takeover posturing in the retail property market.

French shopping centre firm Klepierre also walked away from a potential deal with Hammerson in April, after holding a meeting with its takeover target to table a £5.04 billion proposal worth 635p per share.

Klepierre said it would not make a formal offer because Hammerson “did not provide any meaningful engagement”.

Hammerson – which also owns the the Bicester Village and Brent Cross shopping centres –  branded Klepierre’s overtures “wholly inadequate” and “entirely opportunistic”.

PA Media

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