Intu, the owner of the Trafford Centre, has warned that the shopping centre may be forced to shut.
Intu has appointed KPMG to prepare a contingency plan for administration and has warned shoppers the famous Trafford Centre might be forced to close, the Manchester Evening News reports.
Intu Properties is currently struggling with £5bn debt and remains locked in crunch talks with lenders after being hard hit from the coronavirus pandemic.
The group also owns Lakeside shopping centre in Essex, and confirmed today they have KPMG on standby as administrator. It is currently negotiating details with lenders as it looks to secure breathing space ahead of a looming deadline on Friday.
Intu is hoping to arrange a ‘standstill agreement’ on terms of up to 18 months but said it’s likely this will only be 15 months.
Its lenders have explain that ‘there is a risk that centres may have to close for a period’ if they cannot reach an agreement.
Intu Properties is trying to negotiate a freeze on loan repayments, however increasing demands from landlords is reportedly making this unlikely.
The company put agreements with creditors on hold to ride out the coronavirus pandemic at the start of June, wavering debts until June 26th, however, according to reports it expects to breach debt commitments by this deadline amid falling falling rental payments.
The company announced in May ‘robust action’ against large tenant businesses who haven’t paid their rent during the coronavirus lockdown.
For the first quarter of the year, the company only received 40% of rent and services charges which were due by the end of March 2020.
The firm, which lost £2bn in 2019, warned in March it could collapse if it cannot find further funds.
A statement by Intu on May 18th said that: “in particular looking to achieve stability through standstill-based agreements with relevant financial stakeholders across its structures, at both the asset and group level.”
The standstill strategy statement says: “At this stage it is not expected that the duration will exceed 15 months.
“How the operations of individual centres are to be funded. Some centres haver educed rent collections as a result of Covid-19 and cash trapped under their financing arrangements which restrict their ability to pay for support (such as shopping centre staff) from other entities in the Intu group.
“Securing additional funding in centres funded by bond structures is more difficult to achieve and, in this connection, consent will be sought shortly from the stockholders of Intu Debenture PLC to authorise the trustee to release certain monies within the existing debt structure to be used for short term liquidity needs.
“Other centres may also require cash injections for these purposes. This all remains subject to further negotiations, with no certainty as to whether Intu will achieve a standstill, or on what terms or for what duration.
“Further announcements will be made as appropriate. 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.”
Intu Properties own nine of the country’s top 20 shopping centres and has been struggling with the shrinking high street retail market for some time.
Intu is laden with debts estimated to be around £5bn. The value of the shopping centres have fallen by £1.9bn due to the down turn of the market.
Teen stops young girl being taken by stranger claiming to be ‘dad’s friend’ as she walked home from school
Emma’s quick thinking saved the school girl from being taken by a stranger
A teenage girl has been praised for her quick thinking as she prevented a child being taken from a stranger.
Fifteen year old Emma Carlile was walking home from school through Wallasey Village in Wirral, Merseyside, when she noticed a man approaching a school girl and telling her that he was her ‘dad’s mate.’
Emma noticed that the girl, who is believed to be around eleven years old, looked alarmed, so decided to intervene.
Emma’s dad, Rik, told the Liverpool Echo: “She said she was walking along and she saw a ‘creepy looking man’ approach a young girl and put his arm around her, which she thought looked odd.
“She noticed when the man approached her she looked a bit startled and then she heard the man say, ‘I’m your dad’s friend, don’t you remember me? I’ve been to your house before’.”
Rik continued: “The girl was saying ‘no, I don’t remember’ but he kept going on saying, ‘I’m your dad’s friend, I’ve met you before.’ At one point, the girl tried to get her phone out and the man said, ‘no you don’t need to ring anyone, you know who I am, I’m your dad’s mate.’”
Emma followed them around a corner and, as they approached a crossing, shouted the first name that came into her head.
She said: “Hey Bethany! Dad will be home tonight from police training.”
The girl apparently looked at her and looked startled but relieved at the same time. As soon as Emma spoke, the man quickly walked away down towards Wallasey Village train station.
Rik said that Emma walked with the girl until she was home safely and informed her parents about what had just happened.
Rik shared his daughter’s encounter on Facebook to warn people with children walking home alone from school. He wrote: “WARNING! My 15 year old daughter was walking home from Weatherhead today through Wallasey village and witnessed an older man walk up to a girl with a Harry Potter backpack and a green coat.
“The man put his arm around her claiming he was her “dads friend,” My daughter recognised that the girl looked alarmed and didn’t know the man and followed them from by the co-op to the crossing by the petrol station.
“Please make your children aware if they walk home alone.”
Emma described the man as being around 6ft tall with short grey hair and stubble. He was of large build wearing a green t-shirt and black trousers.
Leaked documents reveal which Covid restrictions may remain after July 19th
We might have to wear our face masks for a little bit longer…
Leaked documents are claiming that the current social distancing rules and restrictions will be staying in place after the revised ‘freedom day’ on July 19th.
The memo, obtained by Politico, listed a number of restrictions that the government plans to keep in place for the foreseeable future.
According to the leaked documents, face masks may have to remain mandatory in certain settings for the long term, employers and employees will be told to decide amongst themselves as to whether they want to return to the office or work from home.
As well as that, it says some form of border control and quarantine will be needed for a significant period of time to prevent new variants entering the country.
The memo also states that plastic screens – such as those currently used in hairdressers and restaurants – may actually spread Covid rather than prevent it.
Ministers are also considering bringing in new rules for businesses to keep workplaces better ventilated, the documents claim.
Cabinet office sources have since stressed that the document was one of several including multiple options – with nothing signed off by ministers yet or anywhere near being announced.
This comes just days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson pushed back the highly anticipated ‘freedom day’, June 21st, by just short of a month to July 19th.
Johnson said this was a result of the new Delta variant, which makes up for 90% of new cases across the country: “I think it is sensible to wait just a little longer.
“I am confident we won’t need more than four weeks – it’s unmistakably clear that the vaccines are working – but now is the time to ease off the accelerator.
“We have the chance to save many thousands of lives by vaccinating millions more people.”
Covid vaccine to be mandatory for care home workers
The Covid-19 vaccine is to become mandatory for all care home staff members across the country, new reports detailed last night.
It is believed that care staff will be given sixteen weeks to receive the jab or will face the possibilities of either being moved to a different posting or losing their jobs entirely.
The Guardian reported that the new plans are expected to be announced in the next couple of days.
It is expected that ministers will also be pushing ahead with compulsory vaccination for most of the 1.5 million people working in social care across the country, despite employer and staff organisations warning that it could result in workers quitting rather than getting vaccinated.
The reports also claim that the government is keen to make it mandatory for the 1.38 million people who are employed by the NHS in England to get vaccinated against Covid-19 – proposals that have already been criticised by groups representing doctors, nurses and other staff.
Workers who can prove they are medically exempt from receiving the vaccine will not be affected.
The government has been widely criticised for its lack of support of care homes at the start of the pandemic; residents were heavily affected by the outbreak of Covid-19 and significant numbers, including many people with dementia, died as a result.
An investigation by Amnesty International late last year found that a series of ‘shockingly irresponsible’ Government decisions put tens of thousands of older people’s lives at risk and led to multiple violations of care home residents’ human rights.
As a result, between March 2nd and June 12th this year, 28,186 ‘excess deaths’ were recorded in care homes across England, with over 18,500 care home residents confirmed to have died with Covid-19 during this period.