Dundrum Town Centre owner Hammerson issues dramatic earnings upgrade

Goodbody reiterates ‘buy’ recommendation as property giant says 2021 finished strongly

Dundrum Town Centre owner Hammerson says full-year earnings may be 25 per cent, or more, better than it had expected.

The property giant said in December that adjusted earnings would be no less than £60 million (€72 million), signalling a turnaround from 2020 when it reported £36.5 million in adjusted earnings. Now the company says earnings will come in between £75 million and £80 million “following a period of improved trading”.

The group said gross rental income was running ahead of expectations across its portfolio of properties while Value Retail, the retail property group in which it has invested delivered a stronger-than-expected performance in the fourth quarter.

“Overall, footfall recovered strongly during the year, particularly when restrictions were eased, with some destinations exceeding 2019 levels,” the company said in a statement. “As government restrictions were reintroduced during the key Christmas trading period, footfall in the UK and Ireland softened marginally, whilst France remained resilient.”

Rents

In a note to investors, Goodbody said Hammerson remains in a difficult retail environment with further income declines forecast due largely to falling rents. However, it said income levels are stabilising as is evident in rent collections.

The broker said that while operational challenges dominated last year, a corner has now been turned. Goodbody reiterated its “buy” recommendation on the group.

The Dundrum Town Centre owner, which operates across Britain, France and Ireland, said gross rental income was ahead of expectations across its portfolio. Full-year rent collections for 2020 stand at 97 per cent of billable rent, with 2021 collections at 88 per cent.

Britain is the strongest performer across the portfolio with 78 per cent of 2022 first-half billable rent collected. In Ireland, 75 per cent of collections have been completed.

British sales remained strong around Christmas, at 97 per cent of 2019 levels in November and 93 per cent in December, Hammerson said.