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Published
Sep 2, 2020
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Hammerson clinches rescue deal, will sell VIA Outlets

Published
Sep 2, 2020

Shareholders of under-pressure UK property firm Hammerson have voted in favour if its rescue plan that includes a right issue valued at £525 million and the £274 million sale of its stake in the buoyant Europe-based VIA Outlets operation to its joint venture partner.


Bullring


The company, which owns major UK malls such as Brent Cross and the Bullring, had announced the plan last month and said this week that the expected £794 million proceeds will help to cut its debt and allow it to rebalance its property holdings so it's less dependent on retail.

Owning retail property has been a major problem this year as existing issues caused by the general shift towards online shopping have been accelerated by the pandemic. Huge numbers of retail tenants have been struggling and even those in a relatively strong position refused to pay rent during the lockdown period. Many are also now trying to force landlords to offer much lower rents based on turnover.

This has caused big headaches for many property firms and the inability to get its finances on a firmer footing was what sent rival mall owner Intu Properties under.

Hammerson appears to have escaped that prospect for now, although the property sector is unlikely to be buoyant for the foreseeable future and the value of its holdings fell by 11.7% in the first six months of the year.

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