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Intu goes shopping for fresh funds to reduce debt pile

Joanna Bourke
Matthew Roberts, intu, press image

Troubled shopping centres owner Intu on Monday said it will ask shareholders for more funds as it tries to pay down its near-£4.7 billion debt pile.

The Lakeside landlord, which has been hurt by retailers closing shops or getting rent cuts through restructures, is in discussions with shareholders and potential new investors on the proposed February equity raise.

Weekend reports said Intu, which also owns Manchester’s Trafford Centre, could plan to raise £1 billion. RBC analyst Julian Livingston-Booth said that “would significantly reduce Intu’s financial gearing”.

Shares in Intu, which is selling some of its malls, lost 1.6p, or 7%, to 21.25p.

Matthew Roberts became boss last April, a year after larger rival Hammerson ditched a £3.4 billion takeover offer for it.

Roberts today said Intu had a “busy” Christmas trading period with footfall significantly ahead of the market.

Roberts said: "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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