// Intu Metrocentre lenders seeking to appoint advisers to negotiate over its future
// Intu Metrocentre attracts 20 million visitors every year
Intu Metrocentre lenders are reportedly due to appoint advisers for talks over its future financial structure.
Bondholders to one of the UK’s biggest shopping centres are preparing for a battle with its owners about a financial restructuring, Sky News reported.
Intu Metrocentre is the owner of a retail and leisure complex in Gateshead outside Newcastle which attracts 20 million visitors every year.
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The bondholder group is led by asset manager M&G Investments.
Metrocentre lenders are expected to engage with Intu over an asset that was last valued at £677 million, but which has almost £500 million in outstanding debt attached to it.
Meanwhile, many of Intu’s flagship centres such as Lakeside and Trafford Centre are also going through a similar negotiation process.
Those assets are all held in individual subsidiaries beneath the parent company, which has seen its finances struggle due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Moreover, Intu said it received less than 30 per cent of the rent it was owed by shopping centre tenants in March following the government-mandated lockdown.
This week, Intu revealed it was seeking standstill-based agreements with creditors as it struggles with the Covid-19 disruption and expected covenant breaches.
It said it would “likely” breach its covenants at the end of June and is negotiating with its lenders to freeze its debts during the pandemic.
Intu secured debt waivers until June 26 earlier this month, and said the standstill agreements would seek to allow it to halt testing and repayments of debt facilities until no later than December 2021.
Retail Gazette has contacted Intu for comment.