City File: O&Y

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CANADA is now the dirtiest of words in the property market. The collapse of O & Y, and the even bigger troubles looming in Peter and Charles Bronfman's Edper group were behind a sudden drop of 26p to 213p in the 'A' shares of the Hammerson Group, formerly seen as one of the most solid in the sector and now rumoured (without foundation) to be in danger of breaching its banking limits.

When another former blue chip, MEPC, sold a fully-let 450,000sq ft building in Croydon for a mere pounds 45m, the market put the shares up 10p to 236p. But put another way, the deal showed the straits to which MEPC is reduced, and was a warning that virtually every property company, apart from Land Securities, is having to sell off crown jewels' galore.