Bullring Bull

Coronavirus: shopping centre owner Hammerson plots £600m rights issue

The company is in talks to sell its 50% stake in VIA Outlets, a portfolio of European shopping destinations, Sky News learns

Britain’s biggest listed shopping centre-owner is preparing to ask shareholders for hundreds of millions of pounds to improve its chances of surviving the coronavirus pandemic.

Sky News has learnt that Hammerson, which owns the Bullring in Birmingham and London’s Brent Cross mall, is drawing up plans for a rights issue that could raise more than its current market capitalisation.

One investor said this weekend that Hammerson could seek between £500m and £600m for the cash call, which would come as the COVID-19 crisis decimates landlords’ revenues and up-ends decades of convention around the collection of retail rents.

Hammerson, which has seen its shares slump by 70% during the past year, said last month that it had collected only 16% of the rent it was owed by retail tenants ahead of the third quarter.

The pandemic has exacerbated tensions between landlords and commercial tenants, with prominent brands such as Boots, Burger King and Sir Philip Green’s TopShop withholding rent payments for months.

Scores of retailers and hospitality chains have either gone bust or turned to insolvency mechanisms to reduce their rent bills during the last four months…

… visit Sky News to read full story


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