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Owner of Dundrum Town Centre Plans Equity Raise, Stake Sale

By Donna Ahern
Owner of Dundrum Town Centre Plans Equity Raise, Stake Sale

Hammerson, which owns Dundrum Town Centre is in advanced talks on the sale of its stake in discount shopping outlets to help it through the coronavirus crisis, it said on Monday.

Hammerson shares, which have plunged 80% this year as the retail landscape has been battered by coronavirus lockdowns, dropped 8% to 58 pence on the mid-cap index by 0733 GMT.

The health crisis has brought mall operators to their knees as their already struggling tenants have been squeezed even further by stay-at-home shoppers, prompting calls for rent relief and deferrals.

Hammerson, which runs shopping malls such as the Bullring in Birmingham, had net debt of £2.8 billion ($3.7 billion) at the end of 2019, exceeding a market capitalisation of about £2.4 billion at the time.

Rival Intu Properties, which Hammerson attempted to buy two years ago, was forced to bring in administrators in June after it failed to secure a deal with creditors as the sector outlook worsened.


VIA Outlets

Hammerson said it plans to sell its 50% stake in VIA Outlets to Dutch pension fund APG, its partner in the venture created in 2014 to acquire shopping outlet centres across Europe.

Sky News, which first reported the proposed capital increase and disposal, said Hammerson intends to raise £800 million.

Hammerson did not disclose further detail on the proposed rights issue or the stake sale and declined to comment when asked by Reuters how much it plans to raise.

"We think raising about £1.3 billion is more like the quantum needed to restore the balance sheet to a more comfortable level," Liberum analysts said in a note.


In its statement on Monday, Hammerson pointed to improving sales and mall visits after it reopened its flagship destinations across Europe and reported a 30% increase in third-quarter rent collection.

News by Reuters edited by Donna Ahern, Checkout. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.

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