Hammerson retail park sale fails to complete
Shares in Hammerson have plunged by more than 7% after the shopping centre owner revealed that its plan to raise £400 million by offloading a portfolio of retail parks has failed to complete by the deadline.
The transaction with Orion European Real Estate Fund V was due to complete on 23 April. It was described as the largest UK retail parks portfolio sale in the past decade.
But on Thursday, in a statement to the London Stock Exchange, the shopping centre company said: “Orion has notified Hammerson this morning that it does not intend to complete the transaction on 23 April as it is obliged to do under the terms of the SPA (sale and purchase agreement).”
In total, seven retail parks were included in the deal, such as Central Retail Park in Falkirk, Cleveland Retail Park in Middlesbrough, Elliott’s Field Shopping Park in Rugby, and Forge Shopping Park in Telford.
Hammerson, which was expecting to see net proceeds of £395 million from the sale, said it will take steps to terminate the agreement if completion does not occur by 6 May.
Shares in the company fell by 5.6% on Thursday and were trading at 56.7p on Friday morning.
Orion’s £21 million deposit, which is currently held in escrow, will become immediately due and payable to Hammerson if completion fails to occur by 6 May. This may ease the company’s troubles if it has to remarket the portfolio, particularly against an extremely challenging retail property market that is suffering the effects of the coronavirus lockdown.
The sale of the retail parks is part of Hammerson’s strategy to focus on its larger shopping centres, premium outlets and City Quarters. Additionally, the proceeds will be used to reduce the group’s debt, which is approximately £3 billion.
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