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12 Mar 2021 | 07:32

Hammerson annual loss almost doubles

(Sharecast News) - Hammerson's annual loss more than doubled as the value of its properties dropped and rental income plunged during the Covid-19 crisis.

The shopping centre owner group reported an IFRS loss of £1.7bn for the year to the end of December compared with a £781m loss the year before.

Net rental income fell 49% to £157.6m, affected by Covid-19 closures, tenant restructuring and higher provisions for bad debts and tenant incentives. The value of Hammerson's portfolio, which includes London's Brent Cross shopping centre and Birmingham's Bullring, dropped to £6.34bn from £8.3bn.

Hammerson has been hit by the impact of Covid-19 on the UK's retailers as non-essential shops were forced to close for most of the past year. The company's retail properties were already under pressure from weak consumer confidence and the shift to online shopping before the pandemic intensified those trends.

Rita-Rose Gagné, Hammerson's chief executive, said: "2020 was an unprecedented year with every business and household affected by Covid-19. As our results show, Hammerson was hit hard.

"The retail sector, already in the grip of major structural change, has been significantly impacted by the restrictions imposed to tackle the pandemic, and we've also seen an increasing number of retail failures. Combined, this has resulted in the largest fall in net rental income and UK asset values in the group's history."

The FTSE 250 group proposed a 0.2p final dividend with an enhanced payout if taken as scrip. The full-year dividend was 0.4p, or 4p as scrip, compared with 5.1p a year earlier.

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