Hammerson has splashed out £76 million to increase its share in Value Retail, which also sees the shopping centre giant gain increase its stake in Bicester Village.
The investment means Hammerson now owns more than 50 per cent of what is regarded as the UK’s biggest outlet centre that is based outside of Oxford.
However, these are non-voting shares and Value Retail will continue to control Bicester Village.
It also takes Hammerson’s total investment in premium outlets to £130 million over the past year.
Last year, Value Retail completed its expansion scheme of Bicester Village, which now boasts 160 fashion and lifestyle boutiques and attracts more than six million visitors per year.
Hammerson’s premium outlets division accounted for nine per cent of its rental growth in 2017 according to its audited full year report released yesterday.
In its full year report, the shopping centre giant said net rental income went up 6.9 per cent year-on-year to £370.4 million while adjusted profit increased 6.8 per cent year-on-year to £246.3 million.
Meanwhile, Hammerson’s occupancy rate in 2017 grew to 98.3 per cent – a 17-year high after achieving the highest level of lettings in the company’s 75-year history.
“Our disciplined approach to capital recycling ensures we continually lift the overall quality of our portfolio and we are seeing clear investment demand for our well-managed properties,” Hammerson chief executive David Atkins said.
“We have achieved £1.2 billion of disposals over the last three years including £400 million in 2017.
“Consumer confidence in France and Ireland is strong and our unique position in the premium outlets sector continues to deliver impressive growth, and today we announce further investment by increasing our economic interest in the internationally renowned Bicester Village to over 50 per cent.”
Hammerson’s portfolio features shopping centres like the Bullring in Birmingham, Cabot Circus in Bristol, Victoria Gate in Leeds, Westquay in Southampton and Brent Cross in north London.
It is also in the midst of preparing for a £3.4 billion takeover of rival shopping centre operator Intu.