Hammerson puts intu on ice

Acquisition process halted pending Klepierre bid

Hammerson has called a temporary halt to its proposed acquisition of intu until Paris-based shopping centre investor Klepierre makes its intentions clear. Last month Klepierre made an unsolicited offer for Hammerson which was rejected out of hand by the Hammerson board, but Klepierre has until 16 April to come back with a revised offer.

Hammerson said: “while Klepierre’s position remains unclear, the board of Hammerson does not intend to finalise shareholder documents in relation to the proposed acquisition of intu.” Intu’s shareholders have already voted in favour of the takeover but Hammerson’s shareholders have yet to vote.

The news came as Hammerson issued a first quarter trading statement that showed leasing momentum during 2017 being carried over into the new year. The quarter saw £7m of leases signed across the UK, French and Irish portfolios at rents on average 6 per cent above previous passing rent and 3 per cent above the 31 December 2017 ERV.

The quarter saw £92m of disposals at book value putting Hammerson on track to deliver £500m of disposals this year. If the intu deal goes through Hammerson has pledged to sell another £2bn of properties.

Chief executive David Atkins said: “Our strategy and the positioning of our portfolio continue to deliver a strong operational performance. Our attractive high-growth markets of Premium Outlets and Ireland are driving valuation growth and we are on track with our disposal programme. Whilst we recognise the difficult trading environment and challenges felt by many retail and restaurant formats in the UK, there continues to be good demand for space across our centres.”

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