Tuesday 20 November 2018

Hammerson in wait-and-see mode ahead of Klepierre takeover move

Hammerson has branded Klepierre’s £4.88bn cash-and-shares offer ‘wholly inadequate’.

Hammerson owns the Bull Ring in Birmingham (PA)
Hammerson owns the Bull Ring in Birmingham (PA)

By Ravender Sembhy, Press Association City Editor

Hammerson will not finalise its £3.4 billion 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 £4.88 billion 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 £21 billion worth of assets across Europe.

Intu operates the Trafford Centre in Manchester, while Hammerson owns the Bicester Village and Brent Cross shopping centres.

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 2%.

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 0.5% over the quarter and up 5% over the Easter weekend.

The group also flagged a £3.5 million 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 0.3% to over £10.5 billion and the firm said it would offload £500 million worth of properties over the year.

Press Association

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