Commercial landlord Hammerson has sold its last remaining retail parks to a Canadian investor for £330 million.
The company said its Middlesbrough and Falkirk sites are among those being transferred to Brookfield.
The sale knocked 8% off the £357 million book value the seven retail parks had been given at the end of last year.
Today, we announce that we have exchanged unconditional contracts on the portfolio sale of our remaining retail park assets to Brookfield for £330m.— Hammerson plc (@Hammersonplc) April 21, 2021
The transaction announced today takes the total gross proceeds of Hammerson’s disposals in 2021 to £403m.https://t.co/nbHsOLwcVf
It completes Hammerson’s exit from the retail park sector in the UK, with sales raising £403 million so far this year.
The properties were sold at an average discount of 6% to December’s book value, the landlord said.
Hammerson will use the money to reduce its £2.2 billion debt pile and increase liquidity.
Chief executive Rita-Rose Gagne said: “As highlighted at the full-year results, our immediate priority is to strengthen the balance sheet. This latest disposal is a positive step.
“Alongside this, we continue to focus on delivering operationally.
“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 sale comes just over a week after Hammerson told markets that it was in talks with Brookfield over selling the sites.
They are in Falkirk, Didcot, Middlesbrough, St Helens, Telford, Merthyr Tydfil and Rugby.
As highlighted at the full year results, our immediate priority is to strengthen the balance sheet, and this latest disposal is a positive step towards that.https://t.co/nbHsOLwcVf— Hammerson plc (@Hammersonplc) April 21, 2021
Hammerson is perhaps best known as the owner of the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham, and London’s Brent Cross.
In the second quarter of the financial year, its UK rent collectors were paid less than half of the amount that was due, it revealed on Tuesday.
Yet there are silver linings on the horizon. Around 90% of operators in England are now able to trade, the company reported on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, footfall at Hammerson’s flagship sites is only down by around a fifth compared with the same week in April 2019 – well before the pandemic.