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Fears for Chapelfield as owners look at ‘alternative options’ for business

PUBLISHED: 10:02 04 March 2020 | UPDATED: 14:45 04 March 2020

Chapelfields owner, Intu, has said it is looking at alternative plans for its business. Pic: Archant

Chapelfields owner, Intu, has said it is looking at alternative plans for its business. Pic: Archant

Archant

Chapelfield’s owner, Intu, has said it is looking at “alternative plans” for its business after it was forced to abandon plans to raise £1.5billion to pay off its debts.

The landlord had tried to raise the cash from investors to pay off some of its £5 billion debt - but was rebuffed.

The news could spell turbulent times for Chapelfield, as Intu has begun selling off its assets in an attempt to rebalance the books.

MORE: Norse axes 20 jobs amid grounds division cuts

This began in December with Intu selling off Spain's largest shopping centre, Puerto Venecia, for 237.7 million euros.

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When queried about whether Chapelfield may be sold, a spokesman for Intu said: "We are not commenting on individual sites at the moment. During the process of raising equity a number of alternative options were raised, and we will share the form these will take when we can.

"The important thing to remember is that investor sentiment at the moment is very low due to the current retail environment, which is leading to devaluation. "As far as the operational side of the business goes, it's doing fine. Intu still gets a million people through the door every day of the year, and occupancy is at 95%."

The news was a major frustration for Intu boss Matthew Roberts, who said: "It is disappointing that the extreme market conditions have prevented us from moving forward with our planned equity raise."

In a trading update today, Intu revealed that its UK shopping centres had weathered a 2.5% drop in footfall across the sector, and managed not to lose any customers.

It kept guidance unchanged for 2020, saying results would decline but at a slower rate than last year when like-for-like net rental income fell 9.1%.

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