Hammerson – owner of Dundrum, Ilac, Kildare Village and Belfast's Abbey shopping centres – names new finance chief

51
Hammerson – owner of Dundrum, Ilac, Kildare Village and Belfast's Abbey shopping centres – names new finance chief
Hammerson – owner of Dundrum, Ilac, Kildare Village and Belfast's Abbey shopping centres – names new finance chief

Hammerson, the owner of shopping centres in Britain and Ireland, named insurance giant AIG executive James Lenton as its new finance chief, months after saying Timon Drakesmith would step down from the role this year.Mr Lenton, whose LinkedIn page says he was chief financial officer of the US insurer’s European business and its European group until June, will take over the role from October 1.Hammerson and its peers are struggling in Britain with a tough retail environment, which has seen several high-profile chains close in the last year as consumer habits change and Brexit worries quell spending by shoppers. It has also faced demands for lower rents from its squeezed tenants.
Its latest earnings report showed a more than 12% drop in net rental income for the first-half and its shares have plummeted as much as 35% since it spurned a £5bn (€5.5bn) takeover bid by rival French rival Klepierre last year. Hammerson shares rose 1.5% in London trade in the latest session, but in the last 52-weeks they have dropped 54%, to value the shopping centre owner at £1.6bn (€1.75bn).The company also walked away from a deal to buy smaller rival Intu Properties in the first half of last year.Hammerson is best known here as the co-owner with German insurance giant Allianz of Dundrum Shopping Centre, which is Ireland largest shopping centre.It also owns co-owns the Ilac in Dublin with Irish Life, and controls the nearby 1916 battlefield site.It has a half share of Swords Pavilions, with Irish Life and Iput owning the rest of the shopping centre.
Hammerson owns outright the Abbey Retail Park in Belfast and has a significant minority stake in the Kildare Village.In Britain, it owns large minority stakes in Brent Cross in London and in Birmingham’s Bullring, and in France, it has a number of retail centres.Hammerson’s strategy has been to extract as much value from its existing properties by widening the range of outlets and with a special focus on car parking.However, in Ireland, it faces the same problems as it does in Britain as a number of British-owned fashion retailers either contract or close down entirely.At Dublin’s Ilac, Hammerson said that Dunnes Stores opened this week a new 2,400 sq metre “upscale food hall”, with an outlet of Café Sol, a chain which Dunnes owns.Simon Betty, who is the director of retail in Ireland, said Hammerson plans for the Ilac also include three new restaurants and a new retail unit and “new planting and paintwork” around the approaches to the centre.
Source: Business News