Hammerson Wraps UK Retail Blockbuster

The British developer has closed on the largest portfolio sale of its kind in a decade.
Image via Pixabay.com

Hammerson has nearly sold off its entire retail park portfolio. The British development and investment company sold seven retail parks to Orion Real Estate Fund V for £400 million, or $517.5 million. The extensive sale, which will generate £395 million, or $511 million, of net proceeds for Hammerson, is also the largest U.K. retail park portfolio deal of the last decade.

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The seven-property portfolio totals 205,000 square meters (2.2 million square feet) and generates a rental income of £36 million per year, or $46.6 million. The portfolio includes Central Retail Park in Falkirk, Cleveland Retail Park in Middlesbrough, Cyfarthfa Retail Park in Merthyr Tydfil, Elliott’s Field Shopping Park in Rugby, Forge Shopping Park in Telford, Ravenhead Retail Park in St. Helens and The Orchard Centre in Didcot.

David Atkins, Hammerson’s chief executive, said in prepared remarks that the company wanted to exit the retail parks sector due to the challenges in the retail and investment field. He added that Hammerson would instead focus on strengthening its balance sheet to create further resilience.

Separate from the seven-property portfolio, Hammerson also sold two other retail parks, Parc Tawe in Swansea and Abbey Retail park in Belfast, for £55 million or $71.1 million.

Exit strategy

The sale of all these retail parks is part of Hammerson’s plan to exit the retail parks sector, which the company announced in July 2018. The company planned to pivot their portfolio toward flagship assets, premium outlets and city quarters in major European cities.

So far, Hammerson has sold 14 retail parks since their announcement in July 2018 and has generated £764 million, or $998.5 million, that was used to address the company’s debt and strengthen its balance sheet. Hammerson still has an interest in one remaining retail park, Brent South, as part of a joint investment with Aberdeen Standard Investments. The retail park, which is part of the Brent Cross estate, is for sale.