Trafford Centre owner Intu Properties has warned its shopping centres across the UK may close if it is forced to call in administrators as it remains locked in crunch talks with lenders.
The group, which also owns the Lakeside shopping centre in Essex, confirmed it has put KPMG on standby as administrator and is negotiating details with lenders as it looks to secure vital breathing space ahead of a deadline on Friday.
Intu is hoping to arrange a so-called standstill agreement on terms of up to 18 months, but said at this stage it is unlikely to be more than 15 months.
It cautioned that if it cannot reach an agreement and is placed in administration, then without critical up-front funding from its lenders, "there is a risk that centres may have to close for a period".
Intu said: "Notwithstanding the progress made with lenders, Intu has also appointed KPMG to contingency plan for administration.
"In the event that Intu Properties plc is unable to reach a standstill, it is likely it and certain other central entities will fall into administration.
"In this situation, all property companies would be required to pre-fund the administrator to provide central services to the shopping centres.
"If the administrator is not pre-funded then there is a risk that centres may have to close for a period."