UK listed real estate company Hammerson announced a proposed rights issue to raise gross proceeds of approximately £552 million (Rights Issue) and the sale of substantially all of its 50% interest in VIA Outlets to a mutual fund managed by APG Asset Management N.V. (APG) for €301 million (equivalent to approximately £274 million), to raise a combined total gross proceeds of approximately £825 million.
”The Disposal represents a strategic opportunity for the Group to realise cash from the sale of its interest in VIA in challenging markets and in conjunction with APG’s support for the Rights Issue,” said Hammerson in a statement.
VIA operates eleven premium outlets in nine European countries providing over 267,000 m2 of floor space and over 1,130 stores. VIA is one of the leading premium outlet operators in Europe, with the third largest portfolio by area. As of 30 June 2020, the market value of the VIA portfolio was approximately £1.4 billion.
With the sale of the stake in VIA Outlets and the rights issue, Hammerson expects to strengthen its capital structure and thereby gain a better starting position to execute on the refined strategy.
Robert-Jan Foortse, Head of European Property Investments at APG:
‘The international retail sector has been under pressure for some time due to structural changes in the sector that are now also exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis. This also had an impact on Hammerson’s portfolio and valuation. We support Hammerson’s financial and strategic measures as announced today and therefore we have decided to support Hammerson in a holistic package of a pro-rata participation in the Hammerson rights issue in combination with the acquisition by APG of substantially all of the stake Hammerson owns in VIA Outlets. With the latter transaction we move towards full ownership of VIA Outlets. We believe that Premium Outlets in strategic locations are increasingly popular with modern consumers. They are an important part of the omni-channel distribution strategy of leading brands. Premium Outlets constitute a material part of our European real estate portfolio.’