Hammerson's malls show benefit of recovering UK economy
LONDON Feb 17 (Reuters) - Shopping centre landlord Hammerson posted a 5.7 percent rise in full year net asset value on Monday, as its malls continued to trade well against a recovering British economy.
Hammerson, whose shopping malls include the Bullring in Birmingham and Italie Deux in Paris, said on Monday its EPRA net asset value per share rose to 5.73 pounds ($9.59) in the year to the end of December, up from 5.42 pounds last year.
Like-for-like rental income grew by 2.1 percent over the year, with its malls registering 97.7 percent occupancy exceeding Hammerson's occupancy benchmark of 97 percent, it said.
The Les Terrasses du Mort mall development in Marseille, France, one of Hammerson's biggest projects, which it values at 386 million pounds upon completion, is 93 percent let and on schedule to open on May 3, the company said.
"We have reported a good set of results in a year when we saw the beginning of economic and consumer recovery in the UK," Chief Executive David Atkins said.
"In France the economic picture is less clear cut, although personal debt levels remain low, providing the opportunity for a rebound in consumer spending when growth returns."
The firm also bumped up its final dividend per share by 8 percent to 10.8 pence.
Large shopping centres that dominate their catchment area have managed to attract shoppers through the economic downturn, defying the spending slowdown that plagued the wider retail sector.
Hammerson also said it was now exclusively a retail developer after completing the sale of the remainder of its office properties. It sold most of its London office properties to Canadian-American developer Brookfield.
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