Does Haslemere plan £400m disposal?

Haslemere, the Anglo-Dutch property company being taken private in a £900m deal, will this week announce disposals totalling £400m.

The move will fuel speculation that Haslemere is preparing a bid for Grantchester, the retail warehouse developer that is currently the subject of a £168m offer from its management.

Chris Bartram, chief executive of Haslemere, said: 'IÂ'm fed up with being told in the market that Haslemere is being liquidated. Our new shareholders are telling me they want me to go and find new deals and that includes corporate acquisitions. They are very keen for us to look at those deals.'

A consortium led by Brack Capital Real Estate from Israel and US investors Apollo International Real Estate and Merrill Lynch Capital made an offer for Haslemere in March following months of speculation.

The consortium won 86 per cent acceptances and the company remains listed in Holland. Because of its unusual structure it does not know the identity of many of its remaining shareholders.

'We will buy companies where we can see future value in development or see value in breaking them up,' Bartram added. 'There will come a time quite soon when there will be quite a few of those around.'

Despite being listed in Amsterdam, Haslemere has a portfolio of 130 properties in the UK worth around £1.5 billion.

HaslemereÂ's nine regional shopping centres, including the Arndale centre in Leeds, the Princes Mall in Edinburgh, the St Nicholas Centre in Sutton and the Meadows in Chelmsford, are not thought to be for sale as values for shopping centres are improving.

However, the company is looking to at least halve the size of its portfolio to around £750m and has already made two disposals of around £120m each. The disposals to be announced this week include the 80,000 sq ft Orion House in Covent Garden for around £70m and the Heathrow Industrial Estate for £50m.

Haslemere already has a portfolio of industrial property under offer for £115m.

(source: Sunday Telegraph)

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