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Shopping centre giant goes into administration

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Staying open: Intu’s sites like the Trafford Centre in Manchester, UK will be continuing to trade

Staying open: Intu’s sites like the Trafford Centre in Manchester, UK will be continuing to trade

Staying open: Intu’s sites like the Trafford Centre in Manchester, UK will be continuing to trade

BRITISH shopping centre operator Intu Properties has been placed into administration, but all of its sites - including Manchester's Trafford Centre - will continue to trade.

The company failed to secure a debt repayment holiday from its creditors by a deadline on Friday.

Intu had lined up KPMG to act as administrator ahead of the deadline, in case the talks with lenders failed. On Friday the company confirmed an application was being made for James Robert Tucker, Michael Robert Pink and David John Pike of KPMG to be appointed as joint administrators for the group.

Intu shares, which are listed on the London Stock Exchange, were also suspended from trading.

Administration in the UK is designed to help companies continue to trade when they are at risk of insolvency, similar to examinership in Ireland. The company said its shopping centre in the UK and Spain will remain open.

Stock market-listed Intu turned down a £3.4bn takeover bid from Dundrum Town Centre owner Hammerson just over two years ago. The shares, which had already plummeted, collapsed a further 40pc on Friday - to a record low of just 2.38 pence each, valuing the company at around £32m.

Intu's biggest shareholder is the majority family-owned Peel Group, with a near 25pc stake. Peel Group, headed by billionaire John Whittaker and with Deutsche Bank's investment arm DWS as a minority shareholder, owns a raft of infrastructure and property assets including Dublin's second-biggest container port operators.

The Dublin operation, Marine Terminals Ltd is on the south side of the Liffey and handles almost one in five containers shipped into Ireland. Marine Terminals sits across from the State-owned Dublin Port on the opposite bank of the river.

The southside terminal is beside the Irish Glass Bottle site, which is set to be developed for housing. The neighbouring port and other industrial sites nearby have also long been coveted by developers. Earlier this year, Peel Ports agreed to sell 25pc of the business to AustralianSuper, a pension fund.

Irish Independent