Intu calls in PwC as it seeks more cash from shareholders
One of the biggest names in UK shopping centres, Intu Properties, has called in advisors from PwC and is likely to need to seek fresh funds from its shareholders.
Sky News reported that the company has called in the consultants to advise on its balance street restructuring with the new advisors working alongside the existing advisor team on the project.
How has this come to pass? It’s the busiest period in the shopping year and the company’s shopping centres are full of consumers, but they're not quite full enough with overall shopper footfall in the UK continuing to head downwards. And as well as this, a number of the company’s tenants have launched company voluntary arrangements, which has allowed them to exit underperforming store leases. Meanwhile, even the most successful store chains have been negotiating with a raft of landlords in order to achieve cheaper rent deals.
Intu owns flagship malls such as Lakeside in Essex, Metrocentre in Gateshead and Manchester’s Trafford Centre. But despite this, it has faced revenue and profitability challenges and has seen its share price plunging in the last year.
The company recently warned that its rental income would be down by around 9% this year with a big chunk of the decline coming due to the CVAs that Arcadia and Monsoon Accessorize launched this year.
It’s also expecting rental revenue to fall next year, although the slowdown should ease somewhat. But with political uncertainty continuing, Brexit still unresolved and likely to lead to a recession, and consumers still migrating online, the prospects don't look good.
The company has been selling off assets in order to reduce its heavy debt load, but the latest news shows that these sales clearly won't be enough to give it the financing that it needs. It will be interesting to see how its shareholders, who have already been faced with the value of their holdings in the company plunging, will react when being tapped for more cash.
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