Hammerson names new CFO, as shopping centres owner reveals less than half of Q2 rent collected so far

Joanna Bourke
·2 min read
<p>Hammerson is a joint owner of the Brent Cross shopping centre</p> (Hammerson)

Hammerson is a joint owner of the Brent Cross shopping centre

(Hammerson)

Hammerson has so far only collected 40% of the March quarter rent it is due, the shopping centres owner said on Tuesday as it named its new finance chief.

The company, which also owns retail parks, said that for the second quarter, which covers March to June, to date it has received 48%, 23% and 34% respectively due in the UK, France and Ireland.

The FTSE 250 firm, which is a joint owner of the Brent Cross shopping centre, is among landlords to have seen rental income hit over the last year as numerous tenants have had to close at various points for Covid-19 lockdowns.

Hammerson, which agreed rent holidays and deferrals for some occupiers, today said: “Market conditions have remained challenging since our results update in early March.”

But the landlord, led by Rita-Rose Gagné, added that looking forward to when all occupiers are able to operate, it expects collection rates for both the current year and last year “to continue to improve as restrictions are eased across territories”.

‘Non essential’ retailers in England were allowed to reopen shops on April 12, and Hammerson said initial footfall recovery “is encouraging”, and around 90% of operators are currently able to trade.

It added that footfall is competitive with pre-pandemic levels. Across a seven-day average, footfall at its flagships is around four-fifths of that achieved in the same week in April 2019. This is an improvement of approaching 50% points on reopening in June 2020.

In a separate update, Hammerson said Himanshu Raja will join as finance chief on April 26.

Raja most recently held the same role at estate agency chain Countrywide until is sale to Connells earlier this year. Prior to that he was finance chief at G4S.

Gagné said: "Himanshu is an experienced CFO who brings a blend of strong financial, strategic and leadership qualities.”

He will succeed James Lenton who gave notice of his resignation to Hammerson in January.

Hammerson is looking to pay down net debt, which most recently stood at £2.2 billion, and last week said it was in talks about a potential sale of its retail parks portfolio.

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