Ham­mer­son taps lenders to mit­i­gate plunge in re­tail rent

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - Rachel Mil­lard By

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.

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