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Intu sells Spanish shopping centre for 475m euros

By Simon Neville, PA City Editor

Intu Properties has sold Spain’s largest shopping centre for 475.3 million euros (£405 million) to a Spanish investment group as bosses continue to shore up the company’s balance sheet.

The deal for the Intu Puerto Venecia site in Zaragoza will see the company bank 237.7 million euros, with the rest going to co-owner the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

Intu, which owns several UK centres including Lakeside in Essex and Manchester’s Trafford Centre, is currently undergoing a major overhaul as it battles with falling rents.

Retailers have also used controversial company voluntary arrangements (CVAs) to push through cuts in rent by telling landlords that without the reductions they will go bust.

The company said: “The transaction is part of Intu’s stated strategy of fixing its balance sheet and will deliver net proceeds to Intu of around 115 million euros after repaying asset-level debt, working capital adjustments and taxation.”

The Intu Puerto Venecia is the regional retail and leisure destination for the Aragon region with an annual footfall of 19 million.

Intu chief executive Matthew Roberts said: “We are pleased to have successfully concluded this transaction and, as previously discussed, are at advanced stages of negotiations on the disposal of Intu Asturias in northern Spain.

“As we announced at the interim results in July, our number one priority is fixing the balance sheet, which includes creating liquidity through disposals.

“This transaction, which along with the part-disposal of Intu Derby and other sundry asset sales in 2019 brings the year-to-date disposals total to £479 million.”

The new owners are the Generali Shopping Centre Fund and Union Investment Real Estate.