The Retail Apocalypse Isn’t Over Yet

Intu Properties Plc is in an almighty pickle. The owner of the Lakeside and Trafford Centre shopping malls said on Wednesday that it had been unable to raise between 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion) and 1.5 billion pounds of equity. That’s not surprising. Even before the outbreak of the new coronavirus, tapping shareholders looked like a long shot. Intu has 4.5 billion pounds of net debt, representing a whopping 68% of the market value of its properties. Despite the value of its estate plunging by 2 billion pounds, more pain on high streets and in malls looks likely. As my colleague Chris Bryant has argued, Intu left it far too late to raise equity. The failure leaves the company in a bind. Some of its borrowings are at a corporate level, but others are against individual properties. It has almost 1 billion pounds falling due in 2021. Intu can pay the interest on its debts, but covenants look tight. Intu said it was still within its borrowing limits right now, but there was a risk that it could breach covenants at its next test in July. Read more at Bloomberg.