Picture: INTU
Picture: INTU

Intu Properties, which was unbundled from Donald Gordon’s Liberty International in 2010, but has seen the value of its assets come under pressure since the 2016 Brexit referendum, has sold a shopping centre in Northern Ireland to shore up its balance sheet.

The company has sold Sprucefield Retail Park for £40m (R760m) to NewRiver Real Estate Investment Trust, bringing its total disposals in 2019 to £268m.

The company, which owns 17 malls in the UK and three in Spain, has been battered by uncertainty about the Brexit process, as well as changing retail conditions in the UK.

Some of its tenants have not been able to adapt to the growth of online shopping and have gone into administration or had to shut their doors. 

The company said in July it would dispose of various assets to shore up its balance sheet and improve short-term liquidity. It reported then that net rental income in the six months to end-June fell 17.9% and property values declined by double digits.

“We announced our new strategy at the interim results in July,”  CEO Matthew Roberts said on Monday.

“A key element of this is fixing the balance sheet that includes creating liquidity through disposals,” he said.

Intu’s management is trying to change its strategy so that it can recover from its malaise.

Roberts said in July that Intu would develop hotels and residential units around its malls. The company plans to develop about 6,000 residential units including apartments and houses.

Intu’s share price was up 0.56% to R7.23 in morning trade on Monday, having fallen 65.8% in the year to date.