Intu puts KPMG on hold if bank talks fail

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Intu Properties, the owner of a mall in crisis, has aligned KPMG to manage a potential administration if efforts to secure respite from its lenders fail.

The plans for the owner of the Lakeside of Essex and the Trafford Center in Manchester, first reported by Sky News, precede critical discussions on his £ 4.5 billion debt.

Intu’s bank lenders have already agreed to waive the criteria for debt covenants, which expires on June 26. General Manager Matthew Roberts is seeking an 18-month standstill to repair the company’s balance sheet and avoid triggering a series of repayments to banks and bondholders, which would almost certainly tip Intu over the edge.

The company, which has 17 centers in the UK and 2,000 employees, was already facing structural changes to online shopping before the Covid-19 outbreak and the resulting closure of non-essential stores devastated rental income.

The value of its shopping centers also fell, causing a loss of £ 2 billion in 2019 and weighing more on its finances. In May, the firm said it had collected only 40% of the rents owed by tenants and a further shortfall appears certain in the next “day shift” for payments on June 24.

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