Hammerson plc has exchanged contracts to acquire Barclays Bank PLC’s 50% interest in WestQuay, the major shopping center in Southampton, for a consideration of £203 million, which includes the repayment of Barclays shareholder loan.
Following completion of the acquisition on 13 December 2004, Hammerson will own 100% of the scheme. As part of the transaction, Hammerson will assume Barclays share of the contingent tax liability within the company owning WestQuay, amounting to some £20 million.
Opened in 2000, WestQuay was developed in a 50:50 joint venture between Hammerson and Barclays. The scheme, which provides 75,900 m² of high quality retail accommodation, is anchored by John Lewis and Marks & Spencer and produces a rental income of approximately £22 million per annum.
The acquisition will be financed from Hammerson’s existing financial resources.
John Richards, Chief Executive of Hammerson plc, said:
“This is an exciting opportunity to increase our investment in a prime shopping center in a prosperous part of the country. The transaction is in line with Hammerson’s strategy of investing in and developing high quality regional shopping centers, a sector which the group believes will continue to demonstrate above average returns over the next few years. WestQuay has proved to be a highly successful joint venture since its inception in 1998.”