// Hammerson to seek £600m from shareholders to survive Covid-19 crisis
// The property owner is in talks to sell its 50% stake in VIA Outlets
Hammerson is reportedly preparing to ask shareholders for £600 million in an effort to survive the coronavirus pandemic.
The shopping centre giant, which owns Birmingham’s Bullring centre and Brent Cross in London, is said to be in talks to sell its 50 per cent stake in VIA Outlets, a portfolio of European shopping destinations.
Hammerson is currently making plans for a rights issue that could raise more than its current market capitalisation, Sky News reported.
- Hammerson obtains £75m government support
- Hammerson & British Land hopeful for retail rebound despite rent issues
Hammerson could obtain up to £600 million for the cash call, as revenues for property giants are expected to drop thanks to the Covid-19 crisis.
The property owner saw its shares drop by 70 per cent in the last year, and only collected 16 per cent of the rent it was owed by retail tenants ahead of the third quarter.
Many retailers, including Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia have asked for a “rent holiday” where they’ve withheld rents as the Covid-19 pandemic impacts trading.
Fellow shopping centre Intu, the owner of Manchester’s Trafford Centre, fell victim to Covid-19 after collapsing into administration in late June.
Meanwhile, Hammerson is in talks with Dutch pension fund APG about buying its 50 per cent stake in VIA Outlets.
Separately, Hammerson said that its chief executive David Atkins will step down from his role by next spring.
Last week, Hammerson issued £75 million of debt under the government’s Covid corporate financing facility (CCFF), after the vast majority of its tenants couldn’t pay their quarterly rent due in June amidst financial constraints from the pandemic.
It comes after Hammerson revealed in July that it had accessed the UK Government’s coronavirus support scheme to bolster its balance sheet, as well as secure some breathing space from lenders.