Property group Hammerson announces plans to stock exchange
The Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham is set for a new cinema as part of a drive for growth, according to its owner.
Property group Hammerson, which increased its stake in the centre to 50 per cent in a £307 million deal last May, confirmed a big screen was part of its plans.
In a statement to the stock exchange, Hammerson said the Bullring remained one of Europe’s leading shopping centres, attracting 40 million visitors a year – but could be bringing in more.
“Following the successful Spiceal Street restaurant extension in 2011, there remain a number of asset management and development opportunities to drive future growth at the centre, including the introduction of a cinema and additional catering,” it said.
The centre is now almost fully occupied, a decade after it opened.
Hammerson, which said it would continue as asset and development manager for the centre, said passing rents at the centre had grown at an annual compound rate of 5.5 per cent since opening in 2003 and now stood at £52 million a year.
The company recorded a major increase in pre-tax profits, to £341.2 million, up from £142.2 million in 2012, on the back of an improving marketplace.
David Atkins, chief executive of Hammerson, said: “We have reported a good set of results in a year when we saw the beginning of economic and consumer recovery in the UK.
"In France the economic picture is less clear cut, although personal debt levels remain low, providing the opportunity for a rebound in consumer spending when growth returns.
“We are seeing improving demand from retailers, and Hammerson is creating the right product to meet their future requirements, which provides the conditions for selected growth in rental values.
"We have clear visibility on a number of major development projects which will create the destination venues of the future, and drive returns to our shareholders.
"The first of these, Les Terrasses du Port in Marseille, will open in May this year. We remain on course to deliver strong growth in earnings and dividends over the medium term.”