// Intu seeks buyer for Trafford Centre
// Trafford Centre was last valued publicly by Intu at close to £1.7bn
// The Manchester shopping centre draws in 30 million visitors each year
Intu’s Trafford Centre is reportedly seeking a buyer less than two months after the shopping centre owner filed for administration.
The UK’s fourth-biggest shopping centre has drafted in PJT Partners and CBRE to oversee the sales process, Sky News reported.
Trafford Centre, which is located in Manchester, draws 30 million visitors every year and is due to be auctioned after being pressured by its biggest lender.
Intu, which owns 17 shopping centres including Lakeside in Essex, has hundreds of established retailers on its list of tenants, but they have been hammered by the Covid-19 crisis that has left many struggling to pay rents as fewer customers visited stores.
Retailers including Debenhams, Cath Kidston and Laura Ashley fell into administration this year, with others turning to CVAs or store closures through general restructures.
Last week, property giant Hammerson – which considered merging with Intu in 2018 – was reportedly seeking a fundraise of more than £800 million from an emergency rights issue and the sale of its stake in a portfolio of European malls.
Trafford Centre was last valued publicly by Intu at close to £1.7 billion, but analysts expect it to be sold for at least 20 per cent less than the original price.
Intu’s joint administrators have said they are working constructively together to “maximise value for this highly attractive asset”.
PJT had been advising the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), the single-biggest lender in the Trafford Centre capital structure, before Intu filed for administration last month.
When KPMG was drafted in, Intu directly employed nearly 3000 people, with a further 102,000 working in its list of retailers.
Another 30,000 people are employed in its supply chain.
On Monday, Intu recorded a rise in footfall across 13 centres in the UK, since non-essential retail stores began reopening on June 15.
Average footfall rose by seven per cent between July 24 and 31, compared with the previous week.
At least 85 per cent of the retailers at its centres are now open, including 68 per cent of food and beverage and leisure brands.