Intu seeks a further £1bn to restructure

Intu is aiming to raise £1 billion worth of new equity next month in order to fix its balance sheet.

The Sunday Times reported that the shopping centre operator, which owns Manchester’s Trafford Centre and Lakeside in Essex among many others, was planning the fundraising to accompany its full-year results at the end of February.

Intu chief executive Matthew Roberts said: “We have delivered a robust operational performance for 2019 finishing with a busy Christmas trading period.”

Total footfall in 2019 was 0.3 per cent ahead of 2018, but remained flat in the UK.

Roberts said that occupancy was stable at 95 per cent and that 97 per cent of rent has been collected for the first quarter, which demonstrates the lower risk of Intu’s existing customer base.

“We are making good progress with fixing the balance sheet, our number one priority, and are confident we have the right strategy in place to enable us to prosper as we see continued polarisation between the best destinations and the rest,” he commented.

Last July, Intu reported falling net rental income in its half-year report, mainly due to retailer administrations and Company Voluntary Arrangements. At that point it expected like-for-like net rental income, which fell 7.7 per cent to £205.2 million in the six month period ending 30 June, to be at a similar level for the rest of the year.

By September, it was revealed that Intu was exploring a buyout deal, with private equity firm and existing shareholder Orion Capital Managers named as a frontrunner.

Then in November, PwC was brought in to help advise on the restructuring of the company’s balance sheet.

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