Intu to sell mall stakes to reduce debt

Intu’s incoming chief executive officer Matthew Roberts is planning to sell stakes in the group’s shopping centres following a £1.41bn devaluation.


Intu

Roberts is due to join the company on 29 April, and has been tasked with reducing its debt to assets ratio to below 50% though disposals, part-disposals and introducing partners to assets.

Speaking with Property Week he said that Intu will move away from owning 100% of its centres and look instead to “own smaller stakes in the centre we’ve got”. The strategy follows a tough 2018, when Intu saw the value of its mall portfolio, comprising 20 centres in the UK and Spain, fall by £1.41bn.

Intu shares have fallen by 46% since December, and it February the company announced losses of £1.2bn for 2018.

Intu is trying to sell 50% of its Intu Derby shopping centre, its Sprucefield retail park in Northern Ireland and exit the Spanish market, where it owns 50% in three malls. These transactions would raise around £600m, Roberts said.

“I think the direction of travel will be to own smaller stakes in the centres we’ve got,” he said. “We’re very clear that we’ve got a loan-to-value of 53% and to be honest the likely direction of travel will be for that to increase because values will decrease the next time we report. However, what I’m concentrating on is on the ‘L’ of the loan-to-value calculation. That’s all I can do,” the new CEO told Property Week.

The UK-based firm owns some of the UK’s top shopping centres including Intu Watford, Intu Trafford Centre, Intu Merry Hill and St David’s in Cardiff.

This week the company appointed a new chief financial officer. Barbara Gibbes will take over the role on an interim basis to replace Matthew Roberts, who has been CFO at Intu since May 2010.

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