Metrocentre and Eldon Square could close as owner nears administration

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Metrocentre operator intu has warned shopping centres across the country could close as the company moves closer to administration.

Before the coronavirus outbreak, the company, which owns a number of shopping centres in the UK including Metrocentre and Eldon Square, was struggling.

intu has now appointed administrators KPMG as a ‘contingency’ in case restructuring talks with lenders fail and has warned entire sites could shut.

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The company has been in discussions with key stake holders to progress a ‘standstill strategy’ and has until Friday, June 26, to sort out a new financial footing.

The MetrocentreThe Metrocentre
The Metrocentre

A spokesman for intu said: “Notwithstanding the progress made with lenders, intu has also appointed KPMG to contingency plan for administration.

“In the event that intu properties plc is unable to reach a standstill, it is likely it and certain other central entities will fall into administration.

“In this situation, all property companies would be required to pre-fund the administrator to provide central services to the shopping centres. If the administrator is not pre-funded then there is a risk that centres may have to close for a period.”

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During lockdown only essential stores remained open and intu has seen a reduction in rent collection.

But intu had been struggling before the coronavirus outbreak to fill outlets within some of their shopping centres and had heavy debts.

The company said in March it was in talks with lenders about new funding.

Metrocentre re-opened to shoppers last week with new measures in place to ensure social distancing.

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