Trafford Centre owner Intu in fight for survival

Date published: 12 March 2020

The owner of the Trafford Centre in Manchester has warned that it could go bust.

The news comes just days after the announcement that the new Metrolink Trafford line will open in the coming weeks. 

Intu Properties, which counts Manchester's Trafford Centre and Lakeside in Essex among its sites, abandoned a £1.5bn fundraising to pay off debts a week ago.

Their annual loses have hit more than £2bn and the company has said there was now "material uncertainty" over its ability to stay afloat. 

Intu is in talks with their lenders to give it some breathing space and said it's looking at ways to boost its finances. 

Chief executive Matthew Roberts said: "In the short term, fixing the balance sheet is our top priority.

"We have options including alternative capital structures and further disposals to provide liquidity, and will seek to negotiate covenant waivers where appropriate."

They've also said that coronavirus has hit their markets as well as being struck by a decrease in rental income. That's because stores are looking for rent cuts and closing down in order to stay in business themselves. 

Intu said half of the 9.1% fall in its like-for-like rental income last year was a direct consequence of rescue deals for chains and administrations.

It has a debt pile of £4.5bn - with the potential impact of the coronavirus crisis threatening to pile more pressure on its shopping centre occupants.

The company said it was yet to see much of a deterioration though it was "monitoring" events closely.

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