While the council and the Cancer continue to talk up the new Carboot Circus shopping centre with endless waffle about best shopping centre in the world ever awards to the accompaniment of some highly speculative footfall figures, the economic reality is somewhat different.
Carboot is jointly owned by two of the country’s largest commercial property outfits – Hammerson and Land Securities – masquerading under the name ‘the Bristol Alliance‘ and the briefest of glances at the business pages of a decent paper will tell you all is not well.
Share prices have collapsed for starters. Hammerson’s are now back at 1999 levels and Land Securities are 20% below that. And both companies have made eye-watering losses recently. Hammerson posted a full-year net loss for 2008 of £1.57 billion while Land Securities posted a £1.74bn half-year loss for the latter part of last year.
Now both companies are heading quickly to the shattered money markets in the hope of some sort of private sector bank-style capital bailout through share issues. Although investors are likely to be nervous as things are touted to get much worse for both companies with credit markets, the share market and real estate markets all failing simultaneously and conspiring to create ‘the perfect storm’.
The Daily Telegraph says “2004-2008 now looks like an absurd bubble” for these firms and the sharp money and the short sells are on urgent asset disposals happening very soon.
Watch this space.