Struggling Intu secures debt waivers till late June

FILE PHOTO: A deserted Intu Shopping Center is seen in Watford, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Watford, Britain, March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Paul Childs

(Reuters) – UK mall operator Intu Properties (INTUP.L) said on Friday it had secured debt waivers from its creditors until June 26 as it struggles to ride out a collapse in rental payments from retailers shut for the coronavirus lockdowns.

The company also appointed David Hargrave as its chief restructuring officer. The Times and other UK media reported this week that bondholders were drawing up plans to take control of shopping centres against which their debt is secured if the company defaulted.

Intu, which owns Manchester’s Trafford Centre in northwest England, Lakeside in eastern England’s Essex and several other properties across Britain and Spain, said it had furloughed around 80% of its staff and cut 20% of its board’s pay.

Having only received 40% of rent and service charge for the quarter so far, Intu said it was now offering customers the option to pay rent on a monthly basis and was in “advanced” talks with customers representing around 28% of the remaining rent.

It added there was a small number of customers who had “chosen” not to pay their rents and the company was prepared to take legal action.

With net debt of 4.69 billion pounds and losses of over 2 billion pounds in 2019, the company in March raised doubts about its future without new funding, even before the coronavirus shutdown.

Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham, Aditya Soni

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