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PARIS-Hammerson plc is buying Villebon 2, a freehold retail park near here. The London-based public property company is paying euro 150 million ($181 million) for the 433,800-sf development.Villebon 2 opened in 1988 in Villebon-sur-Yvette, a southwest suburb of Paris. It has 44 retailers, parking for 2,200 vehicles and the required authorizations and building permits for a 60,000-sf expansion. It adjoins an Auchan hypermarket, which has another 1,200 car parking spaces.Villebon 2 tenants include PC City, Animalis, Tati, Toys’R'Us, Aubert, Casa and Darty. The property has a current annual net rental income of euro 7.8 million ($9.42 million). Hammerson chief executive John Richards says the transaction represents Hammerson’s first retail park acquisition in France and the company expects to expand its business in the country. “Villebon 2 is one of the most successful retail park schemes in the Paris region,” he says. “It has an excellent retail line up and offers significant opportunities to add value through an extension and by active asset management.” The seller is a private group of companies owned by P. Rochemont, R. Soubai, P. de Margerie and Vendomiena, according to Hammerson. Hammerson will effect the acquisition by acquiring the companies” share capital with their own. Hammerson will issue 7.07 million New Ordinary Shares [valued at euro 88 million ($106.08 million)] and assume euro 62 million ($74.74 million) of debt and other net liabilities in the acquired companies. A condition of the acquisition is that the New Ordinary Shares be admitted to the Official List maintained by the United Kingdom Listing Authority, and to be admitted to trading by the London Stock Exchange as well as Euronext Paris. It is expected that the listing and admission of the New Ordinary Shares in London will become effective on Wednesday. Hammerson invests in and develops shopping centers, retail parks and prime offices. Its $8.03-billion portfolio includes about 11.84 million sf or retail and 2.15 million sf of office. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and Euronext Paris.

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