Hammerson sells London office portfolio to become retail specialist
Property firm Hammerson has confirmed that it has exchanged contracts for the sale of the majority of its office portfolio as it pursues its revised strategy to become a specialist retail property company.
The sale to Brookfield Office Properties will generate proceeds of £518 million which Hammerson will use to increase its investment in retail developments and acquisitions.
This will include investment in prime regional shopping centres such as the £400 million Les Terrasses du Port retail scheme in Marseille, which is on track to open in spring 2014, and the refurbishment of the Queensgate shopping centre in Peterborough.
The company is also planning to accelerate extension and refurbishment projects in its UK retail parks and smaller retail schemes such as the Monument Mall in Newcastle and Manor Walks in Cramlington, both of which are at construction stage.
In addition, Hammerson is investing in premium designer outlets including the Value Retail business which owns premier outlet villages in nine European cities. Having secured an additional stake in December 2011, Hammerson said it has retained a close dialogue with the management team and believes there will be opportunities for further future investment.
David Atkins, CEO, said: "In our strategic review announced earlier this year we identified the opportunity to enhance returns by focusing our energy and capital on the successful sectors of retail which cater to consumers' increasing desire for experience, convenience and value.
"I'm delighted that we have been able to achieve our goal of becoming a pure retail business earlier than anticipated by arranging a single transaction for the majority of our London offices which secures excellent value for shareholders.
"I am confident that at this point in the cycle we can reinvest successfully to increase scale in our three chosen areas of prime shopping centres, convenient retail parks and premium designer outlets."
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