Shopping centre operator Hammerson said today it had won the backing of shareholder Elliot Advisors on its plans to sell more assets to cut debt and expand its board. 

The company, which sold assets worth £570m in 2018, said it would look to dispose more than £500m of assets in 2019.

It added that it was in active discussions on deals with a total value of over 900 million pounds.

Hammerson owns the Dundrum Shopping Centre in Dublin and has significant shareholdings in the Ilac Shopping Centre in Dublin city centre, The Pavillions in Swords and Kildare Village.

It reported like-for-like growth of 1.6% at its Irish business, which generated net retail income of £40.4m. 

Hammerson, which also owns Birmingham's Bullring and London's Brent Cross, reported a 6.2% decline in net rental income to £347.5m for the year ended December 31, as company failures hit occupancy at its malls.

The company said it plans to appoint two more non-executive directors in 2019 and establish an investment and disposal committee to oversee its divestments. 

Elliott, which held a 5.3% stake in Hammerson as of July 5, entered an agreement with the company, including a commitment that the US hedge fund would vote in favour of the resolutions recommended by Hammerson at the upcoming general meeting. 

Elliott also agreed not to increase its voting interests and economic interests in the company above 10% and 15%, respectively. The agreement is expected to remain in force for a maximum of 12 months. 

Hammerson cut its debt by £179m to £3.4 billion at the end of December 31 and said it targets debt of £3 billion for 2019.