Landlord Hammerson confirms talks over sale of UK retail parks

Hammerson

Property giant Hammerson has confirmed that it is in talks over a deal to sell its portfolio of UK retail parks.

It comes after reports that Hammerson was set to sell its seven sites for around £350 million to Canadian private equity firm Brookfield.

Hammerson told investors on Monday morning that it is in “discussions” with Brookfield over the potential sale but there is “no certainty that a transaction will take place”.

“The company will provide a further update in due course, if appropriate,” it added in a statement to the London Stock Exchange.

It comes after the retail property specialist, which also operates Bicester Village and Bullring Birmingham among others, wrote down the value of its shopping centres and stores by nearly £2 billion as Covid-19 saw rental income suffer the biggest fall in its history.

Last month, bosses at Hammerson said its properties were worth £6.34 billion at the end of 2020 compared with £8.33 billion a year earlier.

On Monday, the firm said it is continuing to dispose some of its assets in an effort to “further strengthen the balance sheet”.

It revealed it has secured gross proceeds of around £73 million so far in 2021 to date.

The sale talks come despite Hammerson’s retail parks trading robustly compared to some other areas of its estate during the crisis, as they benefited from large supermarket stores and wide open spaces.

In the first quarter, the group collected 64% of its rent due at retail parks compared with 36% at UK shopping centres.

Hammerson’s retail park portfolio consists of parks in Falkirk, Didcot, Middlesbrough, St Helens, Telford, Merthyr Tydfil and Rugby.