Hammerson mulls sale of VIA Outlets stake to raise cash
UK malls giant Hammerson on Monday confirmed press peculation that it’s in “advanced discussions on the terms of a possible disposal of its 50% interest in VIA Outlets to its joint venture partner APG”. That partner is a Dutch pension fund.
And it added that it’s also considering a possible equity raise by way of a rights issue.
VIA operates a swathe of upscale outlet malls in Europe and has been one of the more buoyant part of Hammerson’s operation both before lockdowns were ever thought of and also after stores have reopened in recent months.
The company said it “continues to take pro-active measures relating to the management of its cost base and cash-flow and in recent weeks it secured approval for the issuance of up to £300 million under the Covid Corporate Finance Facility (CCFF) from the Bank of England”.
It also said that following the reopening of its flagship destinations across Europe, footfall and sales “continue to improve and Q3 rent collection in the UK (excluding monthly payments and deferrals) has increased to over 30%”. While 30% may not seem like a large figure, it’s much better than the 16% it had collected at the end of June.
The Monday news came after reports at the weekend suggesting the owner of the giant Bullring shopping centre was looking to raise around £800 million from a rights issue and the sale of its 50% stake in VIA Outlets.
The rights issue was reportedly intended to raise £600 million of that amount.
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