VIA Outlets, the fastest-growing owner-operator of premium outlet centres in Europe, has confirmed that both Hammerson and APG have each increased their ownership to create a 50:50 joint venture to “streamline” the structure of the business.
Hammerson and APG have increased their shares in the 1.6 billion euro premium outlet business by over 3 percent (6.25 percent combined), by purchasing the balance of shares for 32 million euros each at a “slight premium" to June 2019 NAV from former operating partners Value Retail and Meyer Bergman.
Ahead of the change in ownership, a new management structure has been introduced and will be led by chief executive Otto Ambagtsheer, formerly the chief operating officer of VIA Outlets.
Commenting on the change in ownership, Otto Ambagtsheer, chief executive of VIA Outlets, said in a statement: “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.”
In 2018, VIA Outlets reported a strong trading performance across its 11 centres, which are located in nine European countries, with brand sales of 1.07 billion euros, an increase of 9 percent from 2017, and a 4 percent footfall increase on the previous year to welcome over 30 million visitors.
These key operating metrics have continued to strengthen in 2019, with brand sales up 10 percent on the previous period to the end of June with key marketing initiatives driving footfall growth of 8 percent.
VIA Outlets announces new ownership structure and chief executive
David Atkins, chief executive 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.”
Robert Jan Foortse, head of private real estate at APG added: “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 internalised management team, headed by Otto Ambagtsheer, to further grow the sales generated by the brands in the Fashion Outlets owned by VIA Outlets.”
VIA Outlets was founded in 2014 and owns 11 premium fashion outlets across Europe in Amsterdam, Prague, Lisbon, Gothenburg, Zurich, Palma, Oslo, Seville, Porto, Wroclaw and Zweibrucken, four of which have enjoyed significant remodelling works in the last three years, following which they have all reported double-digit brand sales growth. Work to remodel the rest of the portfolio will continue in 2019.
Across its portfolio it offers more than 1,100 stores across 260,000 square metres including Michael Kors, Adidas, Calvin Klein, Nike, Levi’s, Tommy Hilfiger, Superdry, Puma and Hugo Boss.
Images: courtesy of VIA Outlets