Intu Properties’ second biggest shareholder, South African fund manager Coronation Asset Management, has sold its stake in the Trafford Centre owner, which continues to grapple with financial difficulties.
Coronation, part of Coronation Fund Managers headquartered in Cape Town, is listed in Intu’s latest annual report as holding an 11% stake in the shopping centre landlord as of 9 March.
Coronation’s stake had shrunk by then from 12.99% as of 31 December 2019, according to the report, but it was still the second biggest shareholder after North West conglomerate Peel Group with 27.3% and above Luxembourg-registered Auriga V Lux Sarl1 with a 9.2% stake.
Asset manager Coronation has now sold its stake, spokespeople for each of the companies confirmed, but Intu declined to provide a statement to Place North West.
Coronation also declined to comment on the reasons for selling its stake. It is understood to have sold up due to the damaging impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the subsequent lockdown, on Intu Properties’ operations.
Earlier this month, Intu told shareholders it had received only 40% of rents due for the first quarter of this year, compared to 77% in the same period last year.
Even before the global health crisis, Intu had run into financial difficulty. It almost doubled its losses in the year to 31 December 2019, to £2.2bn, attributed to “continued negative investor sentiment towards retail and retail real estate”, and a revaluation of its portfolio that resulted in a deficit of £1.9bn.
It said it was exploring options to fix its balance sheet and pay down around £4.5bn in debt, including possible disposals of properties. Intu has sold a shopping centre in Spain, the 2.6m sq ft Intu Puerto Venecia in Zaragoza, it said in a stock exchange filing today.
On 1 May this year, Intu appointed former PwC and EY restructing officer David Hargrave to help it restructure the business. He also joined Intu’s board as a non-executive director.
That same week, it was reported that disgruntled Intu investors were considering a plan to take control of some of the company’s assets, from which they claim not to have received significant returns.
Intu’s share price was down 4.9% this morning.