Braehead owner Intu may sell off assets after abandoning billion-pound fundraise

Braehead Shopping Centre owner Intu Properties has abandoned attempts to raise between £1 billion and £1.5 billion, blaming market uncertainty.

Intu's portfolio includes the vast Braehead shopping and leisure complex on the outskirts of Glasgow. Picture: Contributed

The shopping centre mogul had been seeking investment as part of its strategy to "fix the balance sheet".

However, investors had been put off by poor conditions in the equity market and the retail property investment market, the company said.

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Intu said it has not ruled out the sale of further assets as it attempts to help reduce debts of £5 billion.

The first warning signs that the plans may not succeed came in early February as Intu's shares tumbled as much as 35 per cent in one day when Link Real Estate Investment Trust, based in Hong Kong, announced it was not interested in the fundraise.

In a trading update today Intu, whose other major retail assets include Manchester’s Trafford Centre and Gateshead's Metrocentre, stressed that it had received "several expressions of interest to explore alternative capital structures and asset disposals".

Chief executive Matthew Roberts said: "We remain focused on fixing our balance sheet in the near term to ensure this business has the financial footing it needs to realise its significant potential.

"While it is disappointing that the extreme market conditions have prevented us from moving forward with our planned equity raise, I am pleased that a number of alternative options have presented themselves during the process which we will now explore further."

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Intu was forced to admit it was talking to investors, including Link, after press reports in early February.

However, Link pulled out a day later, with people who were briefed on the situation telling the Financial Times it was "quite surprised" to have been named.

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