Hammerson confirms talks over sale of UK retail parks

Dundrum Town Centre investor may sell seven sites for around £350m to Canadian private equity firm Brookfield

As non-essential stores start to reopen in the UK, Hammerson is in talks to sell seven of its UK based retail parks.  Photograph: by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

As non-essential stores start to reopen in the UK, Hammerson is in talks to sell seven of its UK based retail parks. Photograph: by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

 

Property giant Hammerson, part owner of the Dundrum Town Centre, has confirmed that it is in talks over a deal to sell its portfolio of UK retail parks. It comes after reports the Birmingham Bullring owner was set to sell its seven sites for around £350 million (€403m) 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, Oxfordshire, 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 was continuing to dispose of 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 per cent of its rent due at retail parks compared with 36 per cent at UK shopping centres.

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