Hammerson is to launch a £600m deeply discounted rights issue to repair its battered balance sheet amid the worst conditions in the sector since the 1990s.

The cash call from FTSE 100 giant Hammerson – pitched at a 50% discount to Friday’s closing share price of 397p – will lay bare the full extent of the crisis in the real-estate market.

It is expected to presage a string of rights issues across the sector, with British Land, Liberty International and Land Securities likely to follow suit.

British Land, which publishes its third-quarter results on Thursday, is also planning to confirm a rights issue worth about £500m this week, according to people close to the company. The details had not been formally decided last night.

Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph, Daily Telegraph