Hammerson mulls rights offer and disposals

Hammerson’s mixed-use Victoria Quarter in Leeds, UK.
Hammerson’s mixed-use Victoria Quarter in Leeds, UK.

UK and Europe shopping centre owner Hammerson, whose share has lost three quarters of its value so far in 2020, is considering asset disposals and a rights issue.

Sky News reported on Sunday that the UK landlord was preparing to ask its shareholders for hundreds of millions of pounds and preparing to sell assets to survive the pandemic.

Hammerson said in response to the media reports it is considering a possible equity raise through a rights issue, also confirming that it is in advanced discussions on the terms of a possible disposal of its 50% interest in VIA Outlets to its joint venture partner APG.

At end-December the total portfolio was valued at £1.4bn (R30.8bn), of which Hammerson’s share was £693m.

VIA operates in nine European countries, providing space to 1,140 stores.

London-based Hammerson and other JSE-listed but UK-focused landlords have been under pressure after Britain voted to leave the EU in 2016. It has dented business confidence and the perceived values of commercial property in the UK, with Covid-19 dealing it another blow in 2020.

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