Property giant offloads retail parks in £400m mega deal

Property giant Hammerson has sold off seven retail parks in a £400m deal – the largest UK retail parks portfolio sale in the past decade.

Ravenhead Retail Park in St Helens and Forge Shopping Park in Telford form part of the disposal to Orion European Real Estate Fund V for a headline price of £400m with expected net proceeds of £395m.

The other parks in the sale include Central Retail Park, Falkirk; Cleveland Retail Park, Middlesbrough; Cyfarthfa Retail Park, Merthyr Tydfil and The Orchard Centre  in Didcot.

Separately, Parc Tawe, Swansea and Abbey Retail Park, Belfast have been sold individually generating proceeds of £55m.

The sale follows Hammerson’s decision in July 2018 to exit the retail parks sector over the medium term to create a focused portfolio of flagship assets, premium outlets and city quarters across major European cities.

In total, Hammerson has sold 14 retail parks since then, generating sales proceeds of £764m to reduce the group’s debt and further strengthen the balance sheet.

The firm has an interest in one remaining retail park, Brent South, part of the Brent Cross estate, which is held in a joint venture with Aberdeen Standard Investments and is marked for sale.

David Atkins, Hammerson’s chief executive, said: “Against a challenged retail and investment backdrop we have exited the retail parks sector. Having achieved disposals of close to £1bn since the beginning of 2019, our focus remains on strengthening our balance sheet to create further resilience.

“The completion of this strategic disposal enables us to create a more concentrated portfolio of flagship venues, premium outlets and City Quarters which we expect will deliver greater levels of both income stability and growth over the medium term.”