- Shopping centre owner Hammerson said it would raise £552m through a rights issue and sell its 50% stake in VIA Outlets for about £274m.

Both the transactions would require shareholder approval.

The company also said it would introduce a new leasing approach later this year that would rebase rents at 'more affordable' levels.

'This new approach will include: more flexible leases; rebased rents at more affordable levels; indexation replacing the existing rent-review system, which is already a feature in French leases; and a top-up element based on appropriate omnichannel metrics,' the company said.

The move came as the company reported a wider in first-half losses on lower net rental income owing to the impact of the pandemic.

For the six months to 30 June, pre-tax losses widened to £1.1bn from £319m on-year as net rental income as revenue fell to £93m from £125m.

Net rental income fell £31.1m to £35.2m, with occupancy down 370 basis points to 93.3% than at the beginning of the year.

Footfall for the first half of 2020 was down 54%, predominantly driven by 'the closure of most stores during the lockdown period,' the company said.

Looking ahead, the company said its plans to raise cash and introduce a new leasing approach would boost finances and deliver a sustainable, growing income stream.

The transactions will significantly strengthen the Company's financial position, and provide liquidity headroom and flexibility to advance its longer term strategy

At 8:57am: [LON:HMSO] Hammerson PLC share price was -0.13p at 55.83p

Story provided by