Shopping Centres

Hammerson suspends dividend after collecting just 37% of Q2 rent

Shopping centre owner Hammerson has revealed it collected only 37% of its Q2 rent bill and has suspended its dividend amid the coronavirus outbreak.

In a trading update released this morning (30 March), Hammerson said that with figures adjusted for rent deferred, switched to monthly payment, and a nominal proportion waived, the figure rises to around 57% of rent due.

It added that it anticipates both figures to increase as temporary agreements are implemented and further cash is collected.

With retailers going through a difficult period due to the government lockdown of all non-essential stores, the shopping centre giant said it is trying to support its occupiers, “particularly smaller and independent brands that are less resilient to the closure”.

As a result it said it has received a variety of requests for rent deferrals, monthly payments, and waivers, which it is “reviewing on a case-by-case basis”, taking into account the business model and risk profile of the occupier, alongside the aid made available by the relevant governments.

Due to the impact of the current pandemic, while Hammerson said it remains “confident” in the financial position of the business its board has taken the decision to suspend the previously announced 2019 dividend of 14.8p per share.

The group has also withdrawn its financial guidance for the year.

Last week, rival Intu revealed that it has received only 29% of its second quarter rent that was due from tenants on 25 March.

For the same period last year, it had received 77% on the quarter day, and the group is now in discussions with its customers regarding the outstanding rents.

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