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Pretoria - South African investors in property company Hammerson, which obtained a secondary listing on the JSE in September, already account for 13 percent of the company’s global share register.

Hammerson chief executive David Atkins said on Wednesday that they were delighted with the demand and interest investors in the country had shown in Hammerson’s business.

Atkins added that the South African shareholders obviously added to what was already a global share register, with Hammerson also having significant shareholders in the US, Europe and the Far East.

He said the attraction of Hammerson to investors was its diversified investment class retail portfolio, which had provided a very healthy level of income growth of between 6percent and 8percent over the past five to six years. “That is going to continue over the next few years - a very healthy income stream,” he said.

The company, a FTSE 100 European retail property specialist, had a portfolio that was valued at £10.5billion (R178bn) at end-June.

It owns, manages and develops retail property and its portfolio includes investments in prime shopping centres in the UK, including 10 of the UK’s top 50 shopping centres, France and Ireland; convenient retail parks in the UK; and premium outlets across Europe through investments in Value Retail and VIA outlets.

Atkins said premium outlets, a global real estate format, were generally open-air villages that were designed with a high class architectural offer and comprised relatively small boutiques that were leased to premium brands for sale of high quality inventory at reduced prices and operated on the basis that the rental was tied to turnover levels.

He said premium outlets tended to be linked to a capital city and Hammerson had investment in 20 outlets across 13 countries around Europe.

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“They are an attraction to domestic shoppers and global travellers. They have a high level of sales to international tourists, at some outlets of more than 50 percent,” he said.

Driven by record leasing activity and strong performances from the company’s Ireland and premium outlets portfolio, Hammerson yesterday reported a 74.9 percent growth in basic earning a share to 36.2p (R6.13) for the six months to June from 20.7p in the previous corresponding period.

This included portfolio non-cash revaluation gains of £188m compared to £78m in the prior period. Adjusted earnings a share grew by 6 percent to 15.1p from 14.3p. Net rental income grew by 9.7 percent to £184m from £167.7m.

The group’s properties, including premium outlets, generated a total return of 4 percent. Occupancies levels were marginally lower at 97.3 percent at end-June.

An interim dividend a share of 10.7p was declared, which is almost 6 percent higher than the 10.1p dividend declared for the prior period.

Shares in Hammerson dropped 0.45percent on the JSE on Wednesday to close at R99.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE