Sunday 23 February 2020 2:42 pm

Hammerson expected to slash dividend amid high street woes

Property development firm Hammerson will reportedly slash its dividend and write down the value of its assets in its results this week.

Peel Hunt analysts have forecasted that the shopping centre owner will cut its dividend by 30 per cent, according to reports in the Sunday Times.

Read more: Hammerson sells seven retail parks to Orion for £400m

Analysts estimate that the value of Hammerson’s assets, which stood at £9.9bn a year ago, will fall by approximately 20 per cent.

The firm is exposed to the woes of the retail sector as online shopping and increased costs have plague the British high street. Since 2018 Hammerson has been in the process of exiting the retail parks sector to focus instead on a portfolio of flagship assets.

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Last week Hammerson announced it had sold seven retail parks to Orion’s European real estate fund for £400m, the largest sale of its kind in the UK for a decade. It was a 22 per cent discount to the book value of the assets.

The deal takes the total sum of Hammerson’s disposals since the beginning of last year to £975m.

Shares in Hammerson have slumped in the last two years after the firm rebuffed a £5bn takeover approach from French shopping centre owner Klepierre in 2018.

Read more: Hammerson continues retail property disposal with £54m sale

Shares in other retail landlords have followed suit amid a spate of bankruptcies and closures. Shares in Intu lost nearly a third of their value earlier this month after Link Real Estate Investment Trust said it would no longer participate in a £1bn emergency cash call.

The Trafford Centre owner is struggling under a £4.7bn debt while many of its tenants are closing stores in response to rising costs.

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