Intu has told investors today it has lined up administrators in case ongoing talks regarding the shopping centre owner’s future fail.
It has appointed Big Four accountancy firm KPMG as administrator as part of a “contingency plan” as it continues to engage lenders about new funding.
The owner of the Trafford and Lakeside shopping centres first began talks with lenders in March, but had been struggling financially before the coronavirus pandemic forced the closure of most retail stores.
Intu said discussions have centred on a standstill on loan repayments, which some stakeholders want to limit to less than 18 months. It added that it does not expect the standstill to be agreed for more than 15 months.
Intu’s current debt waiver period expires on Friday. It is also trying to find a way to provide money to KPMG that would prevent it from closing sites.
“This all remains subject to further negotiations, with no certainty as to whether intu will achieve a standstill, or on what terms or for what duration,” it said this morning.
“Notwithstanding the progress made with lenders, Intu has also appointed KPMG to contingency plan for administration. In the event that Intu Properties is unable to reach a standstill, it is likely it and certain other central entities will fall into administration.
“In this situation, all property companies would be required to pre-fund the administrator to provide central services to the shopping centres. If the administrator is not pre-funded then there is a risk that centres may have to close for a period.”
Non-essential stores have been allowed to reopen in England, with certain hospitality sites expected to be included in an announcement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson later today.