intu in crisis as retailer fail to pay rents

intu, the shopping centre operator which owns the Merry Hill mall in Birmingham, has plunged further into crisis after revealing it has only been paid 29% of the rents owed to it by its retailer tenants for the next three months.

The company said this compares with 77% of rents paid to it at the same time last year and has revealed it only has £184m of cash and other facilities available to it. The coronavirus crisis is also delaying the £95m sale of its Puerto Venecia mall and the proceeds from that sale won’t be available until mid-May at the earlier.

This fresh blow follows disastrous annual results announced earlier this month, which saw the firm’s lose £2bn.

A statement from intu said: “In addition to the immediate actions we have taken to preserve liquidity, we have an ongoing dialogue with the UK Government and may look to access their £330 billion support package. In their recent announcement for the protection of commercial tenants from the non-payment of rent, they also stated that they are actively monitoring the impact of this on commercial landlords’ cash flow. Other Government measures announced of business rates suspension, employee cost support and tax payment deferrals, are also expected to have a positive impact.

Given the ongoing uncertainty around COVID-19, we are no longer able to provide guidance in relation to the 2020 financial year.

In these difficult times we continue to assess all strategic alternatives and will provide further updates as appropriate.  

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