Hammerson plans more acquisitions

 
Marion Dakers
REAL ESTATE owner Hammerson surprised the market with a 17.6 per cent rise in net asset value yesterday, lifted by a spike in its UK properties’ values.

The retail-focused firm’s portfolio in the UK and France rose in value to £5.3bn in 2010, helping to lift net asset value per share to 495p.

The company reported a pre-tax profit of £620.2m for the year, following a £453m loss in 2009.

Hammerson has also lowered its debt gearing from 67 per cent to 52 per cent, and owed £1.8bn by the end of the year with £1bn of headroom from cash, liquidity and undrawn facilities.

The company said disposals in 2010 helped raised £555m, of which £219m was invested in acquisitions.

Chief executive David Atkins told City A.M. the firm will continue to acquire new properties in 2011. “This last year we have invested in every part of the portfolio and I see this continuing,” he said.

“In the short-term, London is very strong in terms of growth but as we have proven out in the regions, even in a pretty challenging retail environment our share can grow.”

It proposed a full-year dividend of 15.95p a share, up 3.2 per cent on last year. Hammerson shares closed up 1.7 per cent at 455.2p.