Hammerson, the shopping centres firm that has been hit hard by the pandemic, has agreed a £330 million sale of its retail parks portfolio.
The retail landlord said the sale of seven sites to investor Brookfield concludes Hammerson’s exit from the UK retail parks sector.
FTSE 250 company Hammerson, a joint owner of the Brent Cross mall and behind Birmingham’s Bullring centre, last week confirmed that it was in discussions about the potential disposal.
Hammerson saw rental income hit in 2020 as numerous tenants were forced to temporarily close sites for lockdowns.
The company today said the proceeds of recent disposals will further strengthen the balance sheet, reducing net debt, which was £2.2 billion at 31 December 2020, and increasing liquidity, which stood at £1.7bn at the same date.
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Rita-Rose Gagné, chief executive of Hammerson, said: “As highlighted at the full year results, our immediate priority is to strengthen the balance sheet. This latest disposal is a positive step.”
Gagné added: “We have successfully welcomed back our customers in England to our flagship venues, with footfall levels well above the June 2020 reopening, and look forward to reopening our other destinations as local restrictions allow over the coming months.”
The retail parks Brookfield has agreed to buy, are:
·Central Retail Park (Falkirk)
·Cleveland Retail Park (Middlesbrough)
·Cyfarthfa Retail Park (Merthyr Tydfil)
·Elliott's Field Shopping Park (Rugby)
·Telford Forge Shopping Park (Telford)
·Ravenhead Retail Park (St Helens)
·The Orchard Centre (Didcot)
Completion of the transaction is expected by the end of May.
Hammerson said the sale of its retail park assets to Brookfield for £330 million cash proceeds, represents an 8% discount to the 31 December 2020 book value of £357 million.
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