Hammerson sells Scottish retail park to exceed €560m disposals target

UK-focused property investment firm Ashby Capital has acquired Abbotsinch Retail Park in Paisley, Scotland, from retail REIT Hammerson for £67 mln (€75 mln).

According to the vendor, the sale price represents a net initial yield of 7.8% and is 3% below book value as of June 30.

Covering 24,600 m2 of floor space, Abbotsinch is located west of Glasgow and is fully let to a line up of brands including an anchor B&Q, Dunelm, Tapi and Natuzzi.

'Our absolute priority is to reduce debt, and with this deal we have exceeded our target of over £500 mln in disposals in 2019,' said David Atkins, Hammerson chief executive.

'We continue to progress negotiations on additional assets across the portfolio,' Atkins added. 'Disposals enable us to prove the value of this business and strengthen our balance sheet, and also give us the flexibility to benefit from the opportunities that will arise in the coming years, particularly with regards to our City Quarters pipeline.'

Hammerson acquired the site in 2012 for £42 mln and has added over 8,700 m2 of retail floor space since then through phased developments, at a cost of £17 mln. This expansion brought eight new brands onto the scheme, increasing the tenant line up from 6 to 14, and cemented Abbotsinch’s position as Scotland's 'leading' furniture and homeware-dominated retail park, according to the REIT. As a result of these works, the average rent per ft2 rose from £17.78 in 2012 to £20.95 in 2019.

Together with the sale of a major stake in its Italie Deux flagship destination in Paris for £423 mln in July, and additional retail park disposals, this transaction means that Hammerson achieved £523 mln of sales in total this year.

The REIT's total retail park portfolio was previously valued at around £750 mln, according to analyst Goodbody.

The 3% discount to book value on the sale 'is particularly notable given that HMSO is trading at a 59% discount to EPRA NAV', Goodbody added.

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