Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

European shopping centre owner Hammerson has diversified out of the UK to shield itself from the effects of the Brexit process and any other risks in the UK, says the company’s CEO, David Atkins.

"As much 45% of our business is out of the UK. We saw opportunities in Ireland and France, for example, long before the Brexit vote. By being in some 14 European countries, we are well diversified and are seeing very strong returns from our premium outlets," said Atkins.

Atkins said Hammerson had had its best first half in the six months to June 2017 in terms of leasing.

"Business people are getting on with it, while journalists and politicians worry about Brexit," he said.

Hammerson would dispose of £400m of assets in 2017 and assets at a similar value in 2018.

"We want to reduce debt and create liquidity within the group. This will include selling mature assets as we continue to recycle capital," said Atkins.

The company recently bought its first exposure to Oslo, Norway, through its investment in VIA Outlets.

andersona@businesslive.co.za

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