Shopping centre landlord Hammerson (HMSO) gained 4.4% to 83.8p as investors reacted with relief to news it has secured breathing space from its lenders and increased its liquidity.

This news, following on from the collapse of its rival Intu into administration, outweighed the not entirely unexpected revelation that it had collected just 16% of rents for the latest quarter to the end of June.

The company, which owns the Bullring centre in Birmingham, has negotiated an amendment to the covenants on its existing private placement notes, which increased the headroom available on the unencumbered asset ratio covenant until 31 December 2021.

In a boost its finances, the company had received approval for issuance of up to £300 million under the UK government’s Covid lending facility, increasing maximum liquidity to £1.5 billion.

To further enhance cash reserves, an additional £300 million had been drawn on its revolving credit facilities, the company said.

As at 29 June 2020, the company had collected 73% of the rent due for the six months to 31 March in the UK, 53% in France and 72% in Ireland, but was ‘confident that collection rates will continue to improve materially in all regions as agreements are progressed with brands’.

Fellow real estate investment trust British Land (BLND) which invests in other types of property asset alongside retail, flagged a 64% shortfall in rent for the retail component of its portfolio for the June quarter.

For the week commencing 14 June, when restrictions were eased on non-essential retail in England, footfall at its English assets was 64% of the level achieved in the same week last year.


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Issue Date: 01 Jul 2020