Property development group Hammerson has insisted that the recent woes of Britain's retail sector had only a minimal impact on the company during the first half of the year, despite a fall in profit. |
In its latest quarterly report, Hammerson - the third-largest property investment firm in the UK - confirmed its adjusted pre-tax profits had declined by 0.7 per cent from 2010 to £69.7 million during the six months to June.
Net rental income provided some encouragement, however, rising from £140 million in the opening half of last year to £143.9 million this year - despite long-running concerns over the effect of economic weakness on consumer spending.
"These results show continued momentum in our business, driven by high-quality assets coupled with focused management initiatives," chief executive David Atkins stated. "We have enhanced the prospective returns from the portfolio through both targeted acquisitions and development activity."
Mr Atkins claimed Hammerson's shopping centres and other retail assets were in many cases "regionally dominant" and insisted they had performed above the national trend over the last few months.
Hammerson also indicated that it will continue looking to step up its work on new projects over the remainder of the year as it seeks to grow its way out of the wider commercial property market downturn.
A total of 11 possible projects - including new developments, refurbishments and extensions - have been identified at an estimated cost of £335 million over the next two years. It is anticipated that around 75,000 square metres of new accommodation will be created.
The announcement came after it was confirmed that two new commercial property schemes appear set to be constructed in central Manchester, providing office space in sought-after locations.
AXA Real Estate is preparing to begin work at Peterloo House near St Peter's Square - which is itself poised for major redevelopment - while Allied London is close to securing a pre-let for a £165 million block at Spinningfields.
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