Dundrum-owner Hammerson exits Belfast and small shopping centres

Shopping centre owner Hammerson has sold up its out-of-town shopping centres in Britain and the North for a total of £400m (€477m).

Dundrum-owner Hammerson exits Belfast and small shopping centres

Shopping centre owner Hammerson — best known for the 50% stake it owns in Dundrum — Ireland’s largest shopping mall — has sold up its out-of-town shopping centres in Britain and the North for a total of £400m (€477m).

The property firm had long signalled its plan to retreat from smaller retail sites in suburban locations, which had boomed in recent decades before the rise of online shopping.

The shares of the London-listed company, which have been under pressure for some time, have fallen 35% in the past year. It had said it wants to focus instead on its large centres such as Dundrum in Dublin, and Brent Cross in London, and the Bullring in Birmingham.

The disposal includes the Abbey Retail Park in north Belfast and a centre in Swansea for a combined £55m, as well as the separate sale of seven retail parks in Britain to Orion, an equity fund.

Hammerson said the total sale price reflected a net initial yield of 8.9% and was 22.8% below the value of the properties last June.

“The headline price of £400m is subject to an adjustment for rent-free periods and rental guarantees and as a result the transaction is expected to generate net proceeds of £395m,” it said. “Against a challenged retail and investment backdrop, we have exited the retail parks sector,” said chief executive David Atkins in a statement.

Hammerson operates Dundrum Shopping Centre, Ireland’s largest mall, which it co-owns with Allianz. It is also co-owner at the Ilac in Dublin city centre with Irish Life, and controls the nearby 1916 battlefield site. It owns half of the Pavillions in Swords, with Irish Life and Iput owning the rest, and has a significant minority stake in the Kildare Village.

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