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Property Week: Hammerson may abandon Croydon scheme

By Peter Bill: Fri 3 August 2018

Link to web site

"On 17 May, Westfield shareholders ticked the £18.5bn takeover offer made in December 2017 by French retail giant Unibail-Rodamco. A week earlier I'd asked Croydon council chief executive Jo Negrini if she was worried that the coming surrender of Westfield to the French might further delay the £1.4bn Whitgift Centre, five years in the planning by Westfield and Hammerson. I’ll return to her response later.

"In 2013, the pair promised an opening date of 2017-18. It was a time when Westfield was king of retail development and Hammerson was queen. A time when it was unimaginable that Westfield founder Frank Lowy would cede power to the French. Or that Hammerson would shelve a decade-long plan for a £1.4bn extension to Brent Cross – as it did last week.

"The Westfield/Hammerson joint venture holds, for now, under the Croydon Partnership banner, with an added Unibail patch. Work is promised to start next year. On 3 1 May, John Lewis and Waitrose became anchor tenants. Hammerson chief investment officer Peter Cole said: “Over the coming months, we are looking to make further progress with the land assembly process ahead of commencing [my italics] detailed design.”

Inside Croydon:
"Council has contingency plan for ‘blighted’ Westfield [and Hammerson] scheme"


NW2 Residents Association: "Brent Cross expansion on hold"

Link to web site

"Hammerson announced the expansion of Brent Cross shopping centre was on hold. It's not obvious what this means for us, especially now that Brent Cross Cricklewood's been divided into three parts."

Brent Cross London
"Brent Cross London is Hammerson's part."

Brent Cross South
"Brent Cross South is Argent Related's part, south of the North Circular and east of the railway line."

Brent Cross Thameslink
"Brent Cross Thameslink is Barnet Council's part, mainly the stretch between the Edgware Road and the railway line."


Reuters: "Hammerson overhaul plan fails to quell investor worries over strategy"

Link to web site

"LONDON (27 July: Reuters) - Hammerson's (HMSO.L) plan to offload property assets and buy back shares has failed to assuage investor unease over the British shopping center owner’s strategy following its decision to spurn a 5 billion-pound ($6.6 billion) takeover by rival Klepierre (LOIM.PA) earlier this year.

"The property group on Tuesday said it would sell 1.1 billion pounds of assets, including its 13 out-of-town retail parks, by the end of 2019, buy back up to 300 million pounds of shares, and save at least 7 million pounds of costs a year.

"But two large shareholders in Hammerson told Reuters on Friday that they did not believe the overhaul proposed by the owner of Birmingham’s Bullring shopping center would be enough to lift its share price close to 635 pence, which was the level of French firm Klepierre’s final unsuccessful cash-and-paper bid for the London-listed group."

Evening Standard: "BMO’s man fries 'Bay of Pigs' Hammerson boss David Atkins on struggles"

David Atkins and the rest of the Hammerson board

"Marcus Phayre-Mudge, a fund manager at BMO Global Asset Management, probably won’t be on the Christmas card list of Hammerson boss David Atkins, after attacking the property company's valuations in the analyst presentation at its strategy update this week.

" 'You are right in the middle of a massive storm here and it is not helpful to play down he impact on the market... I think it is time for you guys to be open with your shareholders and say it is going to be very difficult,' said Phayre-Mudge. A bristling Atkins assured him: 'you'll be pleased with the sale prices' of some of the assets on the block.

"But the fund manager had the final word, comparing Hammerson’s failed merger with Intu to the CIA's disastrously botched Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961. Nice.

"Atkins isn't worried about his job. 'I'm very confident I'll still be talking to you for many years to come,' he tells Spy, in what could be 2018's top hostage to fortune so far."

Evening Standard: City Spy, Thursday 26 July

Barnet Times: Barnet's Hammerson debacle at Brent Cross