United Kingdom

Shopping malls giant Intu 'is on critical list'

The owner of the Trafford Centre and Lakeside shopping malls is running out of time to strike a deal with lenders, sources said last night.

Intu is at a 'critical phase' in negotiations with lenders ahead of a deadline on June 26 that could freeze interest and debt repayments, one property source said.

Another described the situation as 'precarious' and said an insolvency process could be triggered before that date if no progress is made in the coming days.

Intu is at a 'critical phase' in negotiations with lenders ahead of a deadline on June 26

Intu, which has 17 shopping centres across the UK and a £4.5billion debt mountain, is also negotiating with tenants who are refusing to pay rent at its shuttered sites. First quarter rent was due in March but only 40 per cent has been paid.

KPMG administrators have been put on standby in case talks flounder, Sky News reported. But other sources said there was still hope at Intu a deal could be struck.

Ministers are seeking ways to settle the dispute between retailers, leisure chains and landlords which is likely to reach boiling point on June 24 when second quarter rents are due. It is likely even less rent will be paid than in March.

Hospitality industry leaders led by entrepreneur Jonathan Downey and the trade body UK Hospitality will tomorrow petition Rishi Sunak for a 12-month rent deal for cafes, restaurants and bars.

They say a third of the industry could collapse, affecting a million jobs. 

Burger King, Pret A Manger and Caffe Nero support the 'National Time Out' plan, which would exempt outlets from rent during lockdown. They would pay reduced rent linked to turnover after reopening.

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