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APG and Hammerson Confirms 50:50 VIA Outlets Joint Venture

VIA Outlets – the fast-growing owner-operator of premium outlet shopping destinations across Europe has confirmed that both Hammersdon and APG have increased their ownership of the company.

Both property development and investment firms now each own a 50% stake in the €1.6bn valued VIA Outlets business. Hammerson and APG purchase the balance of shares for €32m each from former operating partners Value Retail, and Meyer Bergman.

Ahead of the change in ownership former VIA Outlets COO, Otto Ambagtsheer will now become the business’ Cheif Executive.

Commenting on the deal and what lies ahead Otto said: “APG and Hammerson have long-standing interests in the premium outlet sector and their additional investment enables us to turn VIA Outlets into a self-managed and independent operating organisation. This will ensure the outstanding performance at VIA Outlets is maintained, enabling us to continue to substantially outperform the wider retail market.

“We would like to thank Value Retail and Meyer Bergman for their notable support. Their expertise has been instrumental in establishing and growing our portfolio of high-performing outlet destinations to where we are today. We are excited about the next phase of the business and the opportunity ahead of us.”

Last year VIA Outlets delivered a strong trading performance across its 11 centres with brand sales of €1.07bn (+9% on 2017), as well as a 4% increase in footfall ushering in over 30 million visitors.

The impressive figures continued into 2019 with the business witnessing a 10% increase in brand sales and an 8% increase in footfall.

David Atkins, CEO of Hammerson, said: “Our investment in VIA Outlets is a major differentiator for Hammerson as this is a sector which continues to deliver value creation, as well as significant growth in brand sales and footfall. The management team at VIA Outlets has a clear strategy to attract new brands and deliver further extensions which will capitalise on the increased spending we are seeing in the market, and the low online penetration in this sector. This transaction also streamlines the ownership structure of VIA Outlets, and enhances the governance of this strategically important business unit.”

VIA Outlets was established in 2014 to both acquire and manage existing outlets centres across Europe. Under its leadership of its operating partners, the firm has grown a portfolio of 11 centres across nine European countries, making it the fastest-growing outlet owner in the continent, and the third-largest in terms of its portfolio.

Robert Jan Foortse, Head of Private Real Estate at APG, said: “This transaction marks the beginning of the next phase of VIA Outlets, a business that we have started 5 years ago. We and Hammerson are very grateful for all the support that Value Retail and Meyer Bergman have provided to VIA Outlets over the past period, which has been instrumental to the success that VIA Outlets has become. Going forward, we are excited to work with the management team, headed by Otto Ambagtsheer, to further grow the sales generated by the brands in the Fashion Outlets owned by VIA Outlets.”

Hammerson was advised on this transaction by Lazard and Herbert Smith Freehills.

Image courtesy of VIA Outlets

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