Hammerson appoints advisors for strategic business review
With the landscape for UK physical retail having changed dramatically in the past year, UK-based commercial property giant Hammerson has appointed management consultants McKinsey & Company to advise on its ongoing strategic review.
Sources familiar with the move have told Property Week that the Birmingham Bullring owner’s new chief executive Rita-Rose Gagné has appointed the global management consultancy to “assist with the group’s strategy”.
It told the publication: “We announced in March a strategic review of the business would be undertaken, and it is not uncommon to enlist external support in a process such as this”.
The move coincides with the key appointment of a chief development and asset repositioning officer. Harry Badham joined Hammerson last month to oversee the development teams working on "destination repositioning” across the UK, Ireland, and France. His appointment follows the signing of a new chief financial officer in the same month.
Also last month, Hammerson completed its exit from the retail park sector after it exchanged contracts with Brookfield to sell a portfolio of seven retail parks for £330 million.
Meanwhile, Gagné is expected to update investors on the progress of her review in early August, when the group publishes its half year figures.
Also this week, Hammerson launched a real estate sustainability-linked bond of €700 million (£600 million) in a move to shift the profile of its existing debt.
CFO Himanshu Raja said: “The linking of the bond to our sustainability targets brings a stronger alignment between our financial and sustainability goals”.
Last year, Hammerson suffered its largest fall in net rental income and UK asset values in the group’s history, after it plunged 49% to £157.6m. That was down to the restructuring of tenant deals and a higher provision for bad debts in the year up to end-December.
The group also posted a 29% fall in the value of its net assets after enduring a year when its shopping centres were shuttered for months during the Covid-19 lockdowns. Annual losses more than doubled as the value of its properties dropped and rental income plunged during the coronavirus crisis.
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