Hammerson has exchanged contracts for the sale of the freehold interest in Liberty Shopping Centre, Romford, and adjacent office buildings, to Cosgrave Property Group for approximately €385 million (£281 million). The scheme had a book value of approximately €314 million (£229 million) at 31 December 2005 and is projected to generate a net rental income of approximately €14 million (£10 million) in 2006.
Hammerson developed the original Liberty Shopping Centre in 1968 in a joint venture with Standard Life Investments. In 1999, Hammerson acquired Standard Life's 50% interest in the scheme and the freehold for approximately €73 million (£53 million). It subsequently invested a further €71 million (£52 million) in carrying out a major redevelopment and refurbished of the scheme, which was completed in 2003. The shopping center now provides 41,000 m² of retail accommodation, anchored by Marks & Spencer and Debenhams.
John Richards, Chief Executive, said:
"Hammerson has added significant value to the Liberty Shopping Centre in recent years. The center trades strongly and dominates its catchment. This was reflected in the good interest shown by potential investors.
This disposal is in line with Hammerson's policy of recycling capital. It follows Hammerson's recent UK acquisition for £425 million of a portfolio five retail parks, all with open A1 planning consents."
Hammerson was advised by Jones Lang LaSalle and Cosgrave was advised by CBRE.