Hammerson said on Wednesday it sold seven retail parks to Canadian private-equity firm Brookfield Asset Management for 330 million pounds ($459.33 million), marking the mall operator’s exit from the UK retail parks sector.

British shopping centres are set to be fully operational by mid-May under phased exit plan from coronavirus restrictions, which have kept shoppers at home and led to widespread retail rent deferrals.

The divestment will help Hammerson shore up its finances after the UK-headquartered company reported a loss of 1.7 billion pounds for 2020 and issued a longer-term debt warning, as the coronavirus crisis knocked the value of its malls.

“Our immediate priority is to strengthen the balance sheet. This latest disposal is a positive step,” Chief Executive Rita-Rose Gagné said.

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Source: Global Banking and Finance

By Aby Jose Koilparambil and  Sherry Jacob-Phillips