Intu seeks £1bn of emergency funds

Intu has announced it will seek to raise equity in its efforts to fix its balance sheet.

The commercial real estate giant said it was a “number one priority” to make progress in its strategy to fix the balance sheet, which included targeting an equity raise alongside its full year results at the end of February.

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Intu said it is now engaging in “constructive discussions” with shareholders and potential new investors on the proposed raise. 

According to The Sunday Times, the company is preparing to launch a £1bn emergency fundraiser with the help of investors in order to meet the funds needed.

The company, which owns The Trafford Centre in Manchester and Lakeside in Essex, said that recent progress on its balance sheet included the disposal of Intu Puerto Venecia for €475m (£406m). The net proceeds of the disposal will go towards repaying its debt.

Overall, the company had nearly £500m of disposals in 2019, with negotiations for the disposal of Intu Asturias at “advanced stages”.

Matthew Roberts, Intu chief executive, 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, flat in the UK which significantly outperformed the Springboard footfall monitor for shopping centres.

“Occupancy was stable at 95% and to date 97% of rent has been collected for the first quarter of 2020 demonstrating the lower risk of our existing customer base.”

He added: “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.”

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