Hammerson goes halves with Canadian pension fund over Birmingham's Grand Central shopping centre as profits jump

Kasmira Jefford
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Grand Central shopping centre opened in September (Source: Hammerson)

Retail landlord Hammerson has struck a deal to sell half of Grand Central shopping centre in Birmingham to one of Canada's biggest pension funds, as it reported a jump in full-year profits.

The FTSE 100 company, which already owns Birmingham's other well-known shopping centre, The Bullring, bought Grand Central last month for £335m from Birmingham City Council.

Chief executive David Atkins said the acquisition of the "highly prized trophy asset", which launched in September, fitted with its strategy of owned prime shopping centres across the country.

It has now entered into a joint venture agreement with the Candian Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), taking its acquisition costs to £175m, although Hammerson will manage the shopping mall on behalf of the venture.

Separately Hammerson, which owns 10 shopping centres in France as well as 21 retail parks and 11 major centres in the UK announced an 11.3 per cent jump in net asset value per share to 710p last year, thanks to a 7.1 per cent uplift in the value of its properties.

Its share price has risen by nearly five per cent to 561p on the back of the strong results.

Like-for-like rental income grew by 2.1 per cent, with UK shopping centres and retail parks up by 2.1 per cent and 2.6 per cent respectively, while rental income at its French malls rose by 2.5 per cent.

Hammerson also owns a number of premium designer outlets through its investment in Bicester Village owner Value Retail and a separate joint venture called VIA Outlets with Value Retail, Dutch asset manager APG and Meyer Bergman. Brand sales at Value Retail and VIA Outlets rose by 11 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.

Profits including valuation changes rose by four per cent to £726.8m in the year to 31 December while adjusted profits rose by 21 per cent to £210.9m.

Hammerson is currently working on five major developments including a mixed use scheme at the Goodsyard in Shoreditch and a joint venture with Westfield to turn the tired Whitgift centre in Croydon into a new £1bn retail destination.

In September, the developers cleared a major hurdle after being granted a compulsory purchase order to buy a further 50 per cent leasehold interest in the Whitgift site. The pair expect to achieve planning consent in the coming months and to start work in 2017, a year later than originally planned.

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