Hammerson (LON:HMSO) has updated investors on its full-year performance this morning.
**Highlights from the company statement:**
ASSET MANAGEMENT – CREATING DIFFERENTIATED DESTINATIONS
– 142,000m2 of new space leased; over 40 new brands; leases signed at average 5% ahead of ERV
– Group LfL NRI up 2.2% (3.2% including premium outlets) demonstrating retailer demand for prime destinations
– Premium outlets continue to outperform with sales growth of 8%; LfL NRI up 7.6%
– Continued strong demand for retail park space driving high occupancy; LfL NRI up 2.4%
INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT – ADDING PRIME SPACE IN HIGH-GROWTH CATCHMENTS
– Total return 5.7% beating IPD benchmark (3.4%)
– Successfully transferred Irish loans, secured ownership of Dundrum and Ilac Centre; Ireland GDP growth continues to outperform
– Added another strategic asset to the portfolio through the acquisition of Grand Central, Birmingham
– Significantly increased investment in premium outlets; additional VR stake acquired, now 40%; 5 VIA centres added
– Successfully disposed £635m of assets across portfolio, ahead of target programme
DEVELOPING VENUES – TWO ICONIC NEW SCHEMES OPENED
– Victoria Gate, Leeds, completes the 56,300m2 aspirational retail destination for the north of England
– Watermark confirms Westquay, Southampton, as the premier retail and leisure venue of the south coast
– Continued progress on pipeline of large-scale London development projects
FINANCIAL EFFICIENCY – FURTHER REDUCED COST OF DEBT
– Over £1.2bn new debt raised, successfully refinancing acquisition facility; secured reduced weighted average cost of debt of 3.1%
– Continued active capital recycling to fund future growth
David Atkins, Chief Executive of Hammerson, said: “I am pleased to report another set of strong financial results, with sector-leading earnings and dividend growth reflecting robust operational performance across all parts of the portfolio. During the year we have significantly grown and enhanced the portfolio, adding new retail space in faster-growth markets including Dublin, Leeds and Birmingham, and extending our presence in the European outlets market. To fund these growth opportunities, we successfully refinanced over £1.2 billion of debt and executed our planned disposal programme, generating £635 million.
The strength of the results we are reporting today is a clear reflection of the success of the specialist retail strategy we set out five years ago. Looking ahead, despite some UK retail headwinds and geopolitical uncertainty, I am confident that we have a resilient and adaptable business with multiple opportunities to drive similar levels of growth and therefore continue to deliver sector-leading income-focused returns.”
As of 07:09 GMT, Monday, 20 February, Hammerson plc share price is 564.50p.