Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Hammerson Reit, a leading European shopping centre owner, performed well in the six months to June, largely due to economic growth in Europe.

The company’s basic earnings a share climbed 74.9% and interim dividend a share rose 5.9% in the reporting period. Hammerson, one of the largest property stocks on the JSE, is considered by analysts to be one of the most undervalued with significant potential.

The European shopping centre group, which has a market capitalisation of nearly R79bn, listed on the JSE in September 2016 in a bid to extend its shareholder base.

"Today we announce another strong set of results, underpinned by record leasing activity and positive capital value growth right across our business, which has been boosted by our high-growth markets in Ireland and premium outlets," said CEO David Atkins.

"This performance is particularly pleasing in the context of a more uncertain political and economic backdrop and structural shifts in the retail sector."

Hammerson is an owner, manager and developer of retail destinations in Europe. Its portfolio includes investments in 23 prime shopping centres in the UK, Ireland and France, 17 retail parks in the UK and 20 premium outlets across Europe.

A capital return of 2.5% in Ireland and 6% in the company’s premium outlets supported an overall return of 1.8%.

Hammerson’s share price has fallen 14% over the past year. But Anchor Stockbrokers head of research Craig Smith said its European malls were taking the strain off its UK malls.

"While we are beginning to see a softer consumer backdrop and increased headwinds for retailers in the UK, given our leading assets and the diversity of our portfolio across the rest of Europe, I am confident we will continue to grow income and dividends in line with previous guidance," Atkins said.

andersona@businesslive.co.za

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