intu strategises to fix balance sheet

Company is in discussions with shareholders and potential investors

intu properties plc is reportedly continuing to make progress in its strategy to fix the balance sheet, according to a press release issued by the real estate investment trust.

Ongoing action from intu now includes targeting an equity raise alongside its full year results at the end of February. The company is currently engaged in constructive discussions with both shareholders and potential new investors on the proposed equity raise.

Recent progress on the balance sheet includes the exchange of contracts to dispose of intu Puerto Venecia for €475m, which intu’s share was €238m, in December. The net proceeds of the transaction will be used to repay debt and is expected to reduce loan to value by around one per cent.

Additional, nearly £500m of disposals were made in 2019, with the negotiations for the disposal of intu Asturias currently at advanced stages.

Matthew Roberts, intu chief executive, commented: “We have delivered a robust operational performance for 2019 finishing with a busy Christmas trading period. Total footfall in 2019 was 0.3 per cent ahead of 2018, flat in the UK which significantly outperformed the Springboard footfall monitor for shopping centres.

“Occupancy was stable at 95 per cent and to date 97 per cent of rent has been collected for the first quarter of 2020 demonstrating the lower risk of our existing customer base.

“We are making good progress with fixing the balance sheet, our number one priority, and are confident we have the right strategy in place to enable us to prosper as we see continued polarisation between the best destinations and the rest.”

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