Hammerson brushes off retail woes

Anglo-French shopping centre owner Hammerson reported a 5.1 per cent rise in net asset value and flat underlying profit for the first half, seeing little impact from the recent rise in the number of UK retailers going into administration.

The UK's third-largest real estate investment trust, which owns or co-owns some of Europe's most popular shopping centres, said its adjusted EPRA net asset value at end-June was 520 pence a share, from 495 pence in December and 454 pence a year ago.

EPRA, is a reporting measure set by the European Public Real Estate Association.

Hammerson pretax profit was £192.8m, 42.6 per cent down the £335.6m reported a year earlier.

"Our regionally dominant shopping centres and convenient retail parks are trading ahead of national benchmarks and continue to attract successful retailers," Chief Executive David Atkins said in a statement.

"Despite a challenging retail backdrop in both our markets, we have seen little impact from the recent rise in UK retail administrations," he said.

The company also expects to capitalise on the upturn in the London office market through both existing assets and developments, Atkins said.

Hammerson boosted its half-year dividend to 730 pence, from 715 pence at the same time last year.

The company reported a £121.1m increase in the value of its property portfolio after a gain of £258.7m a year earlier.