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Hammerson has sold two retail parks at a discount as it prepares to woo disappointed investors with a refreshed strategy that will be unveiled alongside its half-year results on Tuesday.
The owner of Birmingham’s Bullring and London’s Brent Cross shopping centres hinted more disposals could be on the way after the sale of Imperial Retail Park in Bristol and Fife Central Retail Park to property investor Capreon for £164m.
Analysts said the price, which is 10pc less than what the sites were valued at in December, reflected the torrid state of Britain’s retail sector, which has played host to a wave of insolvencies and hundreds of store closures in recent months.
Hammerson is under pressure to trim back its portfolio and bolster its wilting share price after its rejection of a £5bn takeover offer from Klepierre earlier this year. The French giant offered to pay 635p per share in April and the stock has struggled to stay above 540p in the months since.
Shares in Hammerson were up 0.5pc to 536p in noon trade.
Activist investor Elliott Advisors, which recently increased its stake in Hammerson to around 5.3pc, has been rallying shareholders to call for a more radical programme of asset sales than the one expected to be announced by chief executive David Atkins tomorrow.
Elliott and other investors worry the asset sales won’t go far enough in reducing Hammerson’s exposure to UK retail and could push for it to sell off some of its highest-profile sites.
As well as disposals, the new strategy is expected to include plans to invest in better-performing sites and details of how Hammerson intends to return capital to shareholders and boost its operating efficiency.
Analysts at Goodbody said the retail park sale would take Hammerson towards having more than 50pc of its properties outside of the UK as it focuses on stronger retail markets such as France and Ireland.
It has now raised £300m from disposals this year, more than half its target of £500m.
Mr Atkins said: "We look forward to providing a further update on disposals and capital deployment tomorrow when we report our half year results."