Intu warns it could go bust after reporting £2bn loss

Intu Properties, the owner of shopping centres including the Trafford Centre in Manchester and Lakeside

Intu Properties, the owner of shopping centres including the Trafford Centre in Manchester and Lakeside in Essex, has warned it risks going under if it is unable to raise further funds.

The struggling shopping centre giant posted a loss of £2bn for 2019, up from £1.17bn the year before. A spate of retailer administrations and restructurings forced Intu to write down the value of its malls by nearly £2bn. The estimated value of its portfolio of shopping centres dropped 22% to £6.6bn.

The company flagged a “material uncertainty in relation to Intu’s ability to continue as a going concern”. However, it said it had options, including selling off more assets, refinancing its £4.5bn debt and negotiating with its lenders.

In a statement to the stock exchange, Intu said: “We have options including alternative capital structures and further disposals to provide liquidity, and will seek to negotiate covenant waivers where appropriate. These would address potential covenant remedies and the upcoming refinancing activities, with the first material debt maturities in early 2021.”

Intu was forced to abandon an emergency cash call last week because “extreme” market conditions left it unable to raise its minimum target of £1.3bn from investors.

Intu said it expects its net rental income to fall further this year on a like-for-like basis, but by a lower amount than in 2019. It is closely monitoring the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its centres, but said the number of visitors was broadly unchanged in the first 10 weeks of 2020.