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Intu’s Trafford Centre is seeking a buyer as lender pressure ammounts to auction plans

Intu’s Trafford Centre is seeking a buyer, according to reports from Sky News and the Retail Gazette, after the shopping centre owner filed for administration earlier this year. Recognised as the UK’s fourth-biggest shopping centre, Trafford Centre has drafted in PJT Partners and CBRE to oversee the sales process.

Located in Manchester, the Trafford Centre draws around 30 million visitors every year. Pressure from the centre’s biggest lender has reportedly culminated in the decision to auction it off in the coming weeks.

Intu owns 17 shopping centres including Lakeside in Essex and has been hammered by the Covid-19 crisis in recent months. The pandemic has left retailers struggling to pay rents as fewer customers visited stores.

Trafford Centre was last valued publicly by Intu at close to £1.7 billion, but is expected by analysts 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 UK shopping centres.

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