The latest update from troubled shopping centre landlord Intu Properties (INTU) makes for even grimmer reading than usual as the effects of UK lockdown became starkly apparent.

The company received less than 30% of its second quarter rent from tenants. Thanks to its substantial borrowings and the migration of retail sales to online, Intu was already in a tight corner.

Today it falls a further 11.5% to 3.58p and is now valued by the market at just £48.5m. Once it was a constituent of the FTSE 100.

While Intu’s battle for survival becomes increasingly perilous, today’s news raises the question of whether this will accelerate growth in online retail as more people become used to buying goods over the internet.

The company said it would engage in talks with its creditors to waive debt covenants after receiving just 29% of its second-quarter rent from its tenants.

'Rent for the second quarter of the year in the UK was due on 25 March (the quarter day) and we have received 29% of this,' the company said. 'We are in discussions with our customers on the outstanding rents. For the same period last year, we had received 77% on the quarter day,' it added.

The company also said it was in an ongoing dialogue with the UK Government and may look to access their £330bn support package.

Intu’s peer Hammerson (HMSO), which has a strong balance sheet, falls 6.7% in sympathy. It is yet to update the market on trading since the coronavirus crisis began in earnest.


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Issue Date: 26 Mar 2020