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INTU GROUP: May Default on Debt Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

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BBC News reports that shopping center operator Intu has warned that it risks defaulting on its debts unless its lenders give the firm significant breathing space.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit rental income and Intu said there was no certainty how quickly the market would recover once the lockdown is lifted, BBC relates.

According to BBC, it also said it was unable to sell any of its shopping centers to raise funds.

The owner of Manchester’s Trafford Centre is now asking lenders for a grace period of up to December 2021, BBC discloses.

The firm said its shopping centers would remain “semi-closed” until at least June 1, BBC notes.

Intu, which also controls Lakeside in Essex, was already struggling under GBP4.6 billion worth of debt prior to the Covid-19 crisis, BBC states.

Earlier this year, it planned to tap investors for GBP1.3 billion but was forced to abandon the fund raising attempt, BBC recounts.

It is now seeking a so-called standstill agreement with its lenders, which would delay both debt repayments and tests on whether Intu has breached the covenants on its borrowings, BBC says.

Intu recently appointed David Hargrave, a former partner at accountancy firms PwC and EY, as its chief restructuring officer, BBC relays.

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