// Hammerson’s full year pre-tax loss widens from £173.3m to £573.8m
// However, adjusted profits slipped 10.9% to £214m, as it received significantly lower rental income
// Earnings also impacted by disposals programme, which generated £542m during the year, surpassing its £500m target
Hammerson has seen its losses deepen dramatically as the retail property firm sold off sites to boost its balance sheets.
The shopping centre owner dived to a £573.8 million pre-tax loss in the year to December 31, compared to a £173.3 million loss in 2018, while overall rental income for the same period dropped 11.2 per cent year-on-year to £308.5 million.
On an adjusted basis, full year profits declined 10.9 per cent year-on-year to £214 million.
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Hammerson said occupancy levels remained high, but the retail property giant saw like-for-like rental income in its UK sites slide by 6.7 per cent as it was hit by retailer administrations and restructurings.
During the year, the firm saw 33 of its retailer partners enter administrations or undergo a CVA restructuring deal, affecting 94 units across Hammerson sites.
Nevertheless, occupancy remains high, with 97 per cent of units filled, although Hammerson saw new leasing volumes dip, generating £11.2 million in income in 2019 compared to £14.4 million in the previous year.
Earnings were impacted by the firm’s disposals programme, which generated £542 million during the year, surpassing its £500 million target.
Last week, the firm announced its largest disposal in a decade as it sold its nine remaining retail parks for £455 million.
Hammerson said it would maintain its focus on reducing debt during the current year amid an “uncertain” outlook for the UK retail market.
“Against a challenged retail and investment backdrop, we have exceeded our 2019 disposal target, exited the retail parks sector as we said we would and reduced debt by a third,” chief executive David Atkins said.
“This delivered nearly £1 billion of transactions in the process.
“In strengthening our balance sheet further, we will create a more resilient business and also generate significant liquidity which could, at the appropriate time, be deployed to create enhanced returns for shareholders.”
Hammerson’s flagship shopping centres include Birmingham’s Bullring, London’s Brent Cross, and several others.
with PA Wires