Hammerson says outlook uncertain

Listed property group Hammerson says the outlook remains uncertain. As the group today unveiled a 7% increase in adjusted pre-tax profit during the first half of 2010, chairman John Nelson said: “With an uncertain economic outlook we will focus on the performance of our assets, increasing income and controlling costs.”

“We will continue to improve the portfolio, looking for opportunities to recycle capital into assets with better growth prospects. We are actively advancing our valuable development pipeline, which offers the potential for superior growth,” he added.

Hammerson said it had made good progress on lettings during Q2 in particular, which had helped it to reduce vacancy levels. Occupancy stood at 96% as of 30 June, compared with 95% at the end of 2009. Overall net rental income fell as a result of property disposals during 2009, although this effect was more than offset by lower finance costs, new lettings and rent reviews. Like-for-like net rental income rose 5%.

The group said it had made excellent progress on its major shopping centre development in Marseille, where the main works are due to start early next year, and has been given planning permission for its 140,000 sq m mixed development at Bishops Place in London EC2. Outline consent has been granted for the mixed-use project at Watermark WestQuay and the retail-led Sevenstone development in Sheffield. A revised outline planning application for the retail-led regeneration of Leeds city centre (Eastgate Quarters) should be submitted by the year-end, the group added.