Whoever takes over the CEO role at struggling UK-based mall owner Intu Properties, which was formed when Donald Gordon’s UK real estate group Liberty International was split in two nearly a decade ago, may have to look at selling its Spanish assets to turn the company’s fortunes around. Fund managers are concerned that Intu’s debt levels are too high, relative to the value of its assets. The group’s loan-to-value (LTV) is as high as 53.1%, while its JSE-listed property peers have LTVs between 30% and 40%. A healthy LTV is a sign that a company has a strong balance sheet. Intu announced at the end of July 2018 that David Fischel, who has been CEO since 2001, would leave at the end of December 2018. However, he remains in his role while Intu continues its prolonged search for a replacement. The next CEO will need to sell assets to bring the LTV down, and fund managers have suggested Intu lets go of its Spanish malls because of interest in the market. This would mean the relatively new...

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