THE owners of Merry Hill shopping centre, intu, have announced they have now appointed administrators.

intu owns some of the UK's biggest shopping centres, including the Trafford Centre and Lakeside, as well as Merry Hill.

Earlier this week it was confirmed that intu had put KPMG on stand-by and that negotiations were taking place with lenders with regard to financial restructuring and today (Friday June 26) a statement on the company's website confirmed no agreement has been reached and they have moved to appoint administrators.

The statement says James Robert Tucker, Michael Robert Pink and David John Pike of KPMG are to be appointed as joint administrators to intu and several other key central entities in the intu Group and their "appointment is expected to become effective shortly".
Underlying group operating companies remain unaffected and all intu shopping centres are continuing to trade and the statement adds: "The intu Group’s relationships with its tenants are with these operating companies, not the companies entering administration.

"The shopping centre operating companies have or are expected to enter into transitional services agreements with the administrators of the central entities to ensure continuity of service provision by the central entities to the individual shopping centres."

intu announced at the start of May that it was engaging with key stakeholders of the intu Group to explore options including potentially seeking standstills to overcome the current market disturbance amid the coronavirus crisis and it warned earlier this week that without critical upfront funding from lenders its "centres may have to close for a period".

Discussions had been ongoing with financial stakeholders to try to achieve standstill-based agreements ahead of today's deadline (June 26) but the company says: "Insufficient alignment and agreement in relation to the terms of such standstill-based agreements has been achieved with financial stakeholders ahead of the deadline. As such, application is being made for the administrators to be appointed to intu and several other key central entities in the intu Group."

intu has also confirmed the Financial Conduct Authority has suspended the listing of the company's ordinary shares on the premium segment of the Official List and the London Stock Exchange has suspended the trading of intu shares on the main market for listed securities maintained by the LSE - with immediate effect.

The listing and trading of intu’s ordinary shares on the main board of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange has also been suspended.