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Property giant Intu reports 'good progress' in getting balance sheet back on track

Jan 21 2020 20:57
Phumi Ramalepe

International retail landlord Intu Property plans on getting its balance sheet back on track by raising equity and has made good progress thus far, it said in a statement on Wednesday morning.  

The property giant, which had been taking blows in the market after its share price saw a 17% drop on the JSE at the end if 2019, reported further details on its strategy to "fix the balance sheet".

In its trading update, the embattled UK company said it is in discussion with both shareholders and potential investors about the idea of an equity raise.

As the UK-based company announced in November last year, its “number one” priority was to fix its balance sheet, which was burdened with a net debt of R88.6bn, a portion of which was caused by failure to pay rent by some of its major tenants such as Debenhams and Arcadia.

In line with amending its balance sheet, the property giant disposed of Intu Puerto Venecia in a contract exchange for R8.9bn (€475m) in order to repay debt and “reduce load to value by around one percent”, said the company.

In addition, more plans include nearly R9.4bn (£500m) of disposals last year as negotiations for the disposal of Asterias draw nearer to a conclusion.

According to CEO Matthew Roberts, “We have delivered a robust operational performance for 2019 finishing with a busy Christmas trading period. Total footfall in 2019 was 0.3 per cent ahead of 2018, flat in the UK which significantly outperformed the Springboard footfall monitor for shopping centers."

Roberts said the company saw a 95% occupancy, with 97% of rent having been collected for the first quarter of 2020.

“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,” he said.  

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