Hammerson has posted a decline in its full-year property values in what boss David Atkins described as “a tough year, particularly for the UK”.
The property giant recorded a 5.9% decline in its portfolio value to £9.9bn for the year to December 31, exacerbated by a 9.3% decline in its UK properties during the second half of the year.
The group, which reported a 2.4% fall in adjusted profit to £240.3m, has unveiled plans to rev up its disposal programme as a result with a “portfolio-wide review” and ambitions to sell off £500m worth of properties.
Hammerson said this number could rise as it is currently in “active discussions on transactions with a total value of over £900m”.
The property group has launched a new committee on its board dedicated to driving these changes, which will be chaired by Andrew Formica and consist of Pierre Bouchut and two other non-executive directors, who will be appointed at a later date.
The group’s leasing volumes were flat year on year bolstered by UK flagships’ leasing volumes reaching record levels, up 7.5%. Group leasing was secured with a 5% uplift on previously passing rent.
Chief executive David Atkins 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 of 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.
“Having successfully achieved £570m of disposals in 2018, we are aiming to dispose of at least £500m in 2019. We remain committed to exiting retail parks over the medium term and are in active portfolio-wide discussions on transactions of over £900m, which would add further strength to our balance sheet.”