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Hammerson moves back into the black

The Anglo-French property company Hammerson swung back to profit in the first six months of this year, boosted by a resilient retail economy either side of the Channel and robust demand for office space in London.

For the six months to 30 June, the property company delivered a pre-tax profit of £336m, following a calamitous loss of £819m last year. Hammerson's return to the black reflected a £259m rise in the value of its property portfolio.

Across the group, the property specialist reported occupancy levels of 96 per cent at the end of the half year, compared with 95 per cent on 31 December 2009. Hammerson cited an improved retail environment in both France and the UK during 2010, along with demand for office space in central London reaching a three-month high during the first quarter.

While its overall net rental income fell because of disposals, its underlying rental stream was up by 5 per cent. However, Hammerson said the outlook "remains uncertain".