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Hammerson Buys Four U.K. Retail Complexes for $409 Million

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Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Hammerson Plc, Britain’s third-largest real estate company by market value, acquired four U.K. retail complexes for 254.5 million pounds ($409 million) as it changes to a retail-property company from an office landlord.

Hammerson bought the Junction Unit Trust, which consists of Thurrock Shopping Park, Forge Shopping Park in Telford, Imperial Retail Park in Bristol and Abbotsinch Retail Park in Glasgow, according to a statement today. The sites have an average annual lease of 11 years and 18 million pounds annual rent, which the London-based company said it expects will increase to 20 million pounds in the next five years.

“There is continued strong consumer demand for the ease and convenience of retail parks, and that consumer demand is being reflected in the increasing requirements of a range of fashion and catering retailers for space in retail parks,” Chief Executive Officer David Atkins said in the statement.

Hammerson is selling its London office portfolio to focus on shopping centers. In June, the company announced a 518 million-pound sale of most of its London office buildings to Brookfield Office Properties Inc., giving Hammerson about 1 billion pounds of cash or credit lines. Hammerson already owns another 17 retail parks in the U.K., according to its website.

The company acquired the Victoria Quarter shopping arcades in Leeds for 136 million pounds in September and is proposing to build a $1.4 billion mall in South London.

Hammerson was up 1.5 percent at 483.4 pence at the 4:30 p.m. close in London, the highest since July 2011. The shares have gained 5.2 percent in the past month, the second-best performance among stocks in the FTSE 350 Real Estate Investment Trust Index, which added 1.5 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Spillane in London at cspillane3@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Blackman at ablackman@bloomberg.net.

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