|Master Investor Magazine
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Shares in FTSE 250 property company Hammerson (LON:HMSO) climbed by 3.15% to 229.10p (as of 15:30 GMT) despite its loss per share almost tripling in 2019. The company’s debt levels fell faster than targeted after a strong year of disposals.
CEO David Atkins commented: “We have taken decisive action over the past 12 months to reduce debt and significantly reshape the portfolio. Against a challenged retail and investment backdrop, we have exceeded our 2019 disposal target, exited the retail parks sector as we said we would and reduced debt by a third. This delivered nearly £1bn of transactions in the process. With the outlook for the UK retail market remaining uncertain, we believe we should maintain our focus on reducing debt during 2020. In strengthening our balance sheet further, we will create a more resilient business and also generate significant liquidity which could, at the appropriate time, be deployed to create enhanced returns for shareholders.
“The magnitude of the challenge facing UK retail is significant. However, as brands look to optimise their store estates and strike the right balance between online and physical retail, the best destinations continue to be highly relevant – this is highlighted by the rise in visitor numbers across all our regions. We remain committed to creating a portfolio of exceptional venues and, as we drive a faster pace of change in shifting our brand line-up and repurposing space, we expect to see improved results in the UK. We will build a stronger business for the future with our focus on this, alongside improved performances in France and Ireland, the extensive opportunity offered by City Quarters and the outstanding contribution from premium outlets“.