Hammerson to raise £825m, reboot lease terms with retailers, sell VIA stake
Aug 6, 2020
British shopping centre operator Hammerson Plc announced moves to raise a combined £825 million on Thursday and said it would reboot the terms of its leases with UK retailers as it faced a slump in rent collections, footfall and the value of its properties.
The deals would significantly strengthen its financial position, providing liquidity headroom as it continues to refocus its portfolio towards its flagship destinations in the UK and Ireland, the owner of the Bullring and Brent Cross shopping centres said. Hammerson also owns retail properties in France.
The coronavirus crisis has brought mall operators to their knees as their already struggling tenants have been squeezed further by stay-at-home shoppers, prompting calls for rent relief and deferrals.
The FTSE-250 company said it would raise proceeds of about £552 million through a rights issue, and about £274 million through disposal of its stake in successful European outlet malls operator VIA Outlets.
Its net rental income fell 44% to £87.3 million for the six months ended June 30, whereas the occupancy rate fell to 94% from 97% in the year-ago period. That divided out as UK flagships' occupancy being 93%, French flagships 94%, Ireland flagships 96%, and Premium outlets 93%.
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