Hammerson taps lenders to mitigate plunge in retail rent
SHOPPING centre owner Hammerson has secured emergency support after it was battered by a plunge in retail rent payments.
The owner of the Birmingham Bullring centre and London’s Brent Cross has been paid just 16pc of UK rent due on last week’s third-quarter collection date, blowing a hole in its finances as stores reel from the Covid-19 crisis.
Bosses have negotiated new deals with the firm’s lenders, drawn down £300m from an overdraft, and won approval to tap the Bank of England’s emergency coronavirus loan scheme.
The company said: “In response to pressures exacerbated by Covid-19, Hammerson is continuing to focus on reinforcing its balance sheet.”
Hammerson is fighting to avoid the fate of rival Intu, which fell into administration last week. Commercial landlords have been hammered by lockdown as tenants were forced to close. Figures published this morning by Remit Consulting show they were paid 37.8pc of quarterly rent owed on last week’s due date, and 33pc of service charges.
Rival British Land yesterday said that as of June 26 it had collected 36pc of the quarterly rent due from retail tenants, and 88pc from offices.
Hammerson said it was confident rent collections would rise after talks with tenants. It has now received 47pc of rent due in the UK for the second quarter, and 99pc for the first quarter, meaning overall collection for the first half of the year stands at 73pc.
“All discussions with brands regarding rent deferrals, monthly payments and waivers have been on a case-bycase basis, taking into account the business model, risk profile and ability of the occupier to pay, alongside support made available by government,” it said.