VIA Outlets acquires European portfolio (EU)

Hammerson and its partners in VIA Outlets, APG, Meyer Bergman and Value Retail, have acquired three further centers for their newly created venture, established to take advantage of further growth in the European outlet sector.
Purchased from The Carlyle Group, the Freeport Portfolio of outlets include Alcochete in Portugal, Kungsbacka in Sweden and Excalibur in the Czech Republic. The three properties have been acquired at an initial yield of 8% and offer attractive return prospects.
Hammerson owns a 47% interest in VIA Outlets and the newly purchased properties and will contribute €57million towards this acquisition.
Alcochete is situated near the Portuguese capital, Lisbon and comprises over 55,700m² of retail space, with over 170 stores including brands such as Diesel, Burberry, Carolina Herrera and Armani. It is the dominant retail factory outlet centre in the region and in 2014 will generate an expected sales density of almost €3,000 per m².
Alcochete accounts for the majority of the purchase price and has the potential to deliver increased performance. The VIA Partners have identified reconfiguration proposals to enhance the main retail mall by adding aspirational international brands to the line-up. The restaurant offering will be relocated and expanded to better align with the retail brands and enhance spend and dwell time. There is also an opportunity to increase Alcochete’s marketing activity and brand presence amongst tourists, with Lisbon particularly popular with German, French and Spanish visitors, as well as long haul tourists from South America.
Kungsbacka, Sweden, is a 20 minute drive to the south of Gothenburg, the country’s second largest city. The 16,000m² outlet includes retailers such as Nike and Hugo Boss and the prosperous Kungsbacka region has the highest level of average income in western Sweden. The final outlet in the portfolio, Excalibur is located in the Czech Republic, near the Austrian border. With 21,000m² of retail space, the scheme is currently dominated by sports brands.
Since the creation of VIA Outlets, which initially acquired Batavia Stad in Amsterdam and Fashion Arena in Prague, the partnership has invested over €300million creating a portfolio of over 140,000m² of retail space and in excess of 500 stores. Hammerson has invested €103million, in VIA Outlets and the blended initial yield of the centres purchased to date is 8%.
A VIA Outlets advisory board has been established to set the strategic direction for the venture and approve the business plan for each scheme. The initial tranche of acquisitions require asset management and development experience which will draw from the VIA partners’ existing retail and property skills.
David Atkins, Chief Executive of Hammerson said: “This acquisition increases our scale in European outlets, which we are confident will deliver strong returns.

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