Shopping centre owner Hammerson has said it will seek to dispose of more assets in a bid to cut its debts.
The property company wants to offload more than £500m of assets over the next 12 months, but said it was “open minded” about the upper limit of its disposal programme and was in active discussions on transactions with a total value of £900m.
The disposal programme will comprise portfolio sales, joint ventures and asset disposals, including a “limited number” of retail parks. If successful, Hammerson’s debt will be reduced to less than £3bn by the end of the year.
Hammerson has set up an investment and disposal committee to oversee the disposal programme. It will be comprise non-executive directors Andrew Formica – as chair – and Pierre Bouchut. Two further non-executive directors will be appointed to the committee this year.
Adjusted profits at Hammerson fell by 2.4% to £240.3m in the year to 31 December 2018.
David Atkins, chief executive of Hammerson, said: “2018 was a tough year particularly in the UK. Tenant failures, the structural shift in retail and a more considered consumer created a difficult operating environment, putting pressure on property values. Outside the UK our destinations performed better with a strong contribution from premium outlets.
“We believe that a successful deleveraging programme will best position Hammerson for the current environment and beyond. Disposals will also enable us to prove the inherent value of this business – which we believe is not recognised in the current equity market.”