Hammerson boasted a 21% increase in net asset value for the year to 31 December as its UK and French development arm goes from strength to strength.

Hammerson boasted a 21% increase in net asset value for the year to 31 December as its UK and French development arm goes from strength to strength.

The company’s £6.7bn portfolio generated a return of 18.8% in 2006, outperforming the Investment Property Databank’s UK Annual Index by 70 basis points.

Hammerson scooped an £81m development profit following the completion of 9 Place Vendome in Paris and has kickstarted a £900m development pipeline in the last 12 months. Success in development was matched by solid performance in lettings, with 365,976 sq ft (34,000 sq m) of space let across its portfolio, reducing its overall vacancy rate to 3.4%.

John Nelson, chairman of Hammerson, said he was pleased to report another year of ‘outstanding progress’ in which annual net rental income jumped £27.1m to £237.4m and pre-tax profits rose from £89.4m to £94.5m. The results reflected a 25.3% return on shareholders’ equity and pushed its share price up 10p to 1628p in early morning trading.

Nelson said: ‘We have demonstrated strong performance in recent years, benefiting from capital growth and a rising income stream from our investment portfolio and

completed developments. Looking ahead, our rental income is projected to show substantial growth in 2007 with continued growth thereafter enhanced by one of the most extensive development programmes in the sector. We have a strong base from which to take Hammerson forward and I have every confidence that the company will continue to thrive.’