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UK mall owner Intu to cut service charges for tenants

FILE PHOTO: A general view shows the Trafford Centre shopping centre in Manchester

(Reuters) - Trafford Centre owner Intu Properties will lower its service charges for tenants by 22% in the second half of the 2020 financial year, delivering an 11% reduction for the full year, as shops and other businesses seek to ride out the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Intu, which is also the owner of Lakeside in Essex and one of Britain's biggest shopping mall operators, said that while it welcomed the business rates holiday announced by the government "more support was needed" for companies.

"We will continue to do all we can for the brands who rent with us whilst  also ensuring that any concessions  we make are not to the detriment of our own financial position as we look to address our balance sheet issues," the company's spokesperson said in an email to Reuters.

Intu, with net debt of 4.69 billion pounds and losses of over 2 billion pounds in 2019, earlier this month signalled doubts about its future without new funding, even before Britain's coronavirus shutdown began to take effect.

(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham)