Hammerson to sell its office space and focus on retail

Hammerson today announced that, following a strategic review, it will sell off its entire portfolio of office properties in order to become a specialist retail REIT. Retail assets currently represent 89% of the company’s £5.7bn property portfolio.

Chief executive David Atkins said: “Following the review of our strategy we will focus on being the best owner-manager and developer of retail property within Europe. Hammerson has created a retail business delivering outperformance from prime assets in winning locations. We now intend to sell our standing office investments over the medium term to maximise returns, redeploying capital into the retail sector to exploit our expertise and build on our existing scale. This will create efficiencies that lead to further cost savings and income growth from our portfolio.”

“We have a small number of London office development projects and strategic mixed-use sites that offer superior returns, where we will continue to allocate capital to increase the overall value of the projects. Where appropriate, we will introduce funding or JV capital to de-risk projects and reduce our overall commitment,” the company added.

The announcement came as Hammerson reported its results for 2011 to the London Stock Exchange. You can read the company’s full statement here.