Intu Properties sells Northern Ireland retail park

The disposal of Sprucefield brings year-to-date disposals to £268 million.

UK-focused retail landlord Intu Properties has sold a Northern Ireland retail park to property investment trust New River for £40 million. Intu Properties is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange

The sale of Sprucefield Retail Park in Lisburn brings Intu’s year-to-date disposals total to £268 million, as the shopping centre operator aims to fix its balance sheet. 

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.

New River said the retail park, which has five units is anchored by Sainsbury’s and B&Q, will generate an extra £3.7 million of annual net property income. Talks are already underway with prospective tenants to let out a vacant unit at the retail park and the real estate investment trust said it will extract value by selling land for development. 

Intu chief executive Matthew Roberts said:

“We announced our new strategy at the interim results in July. A key element of this is fixing the balance sheet which includes creating liquidity through disposals.” 

New River chief executive Allan Lockhart added: “In addition to an attractive long-term income return, the development land offers the opportunity to deliver significant capital growth, leading to a very attractive total return.

“Our successful disposal programme in this financial year places us in a position to take advantage of current market dislocations and make highly accretive acquisitions such as Sprucefield Retail Park and the recently-acquired Poole Retail Park.”

New River reported last week that it swung to a £21.3 million loss in the first half of the year, from a profit of £2.7 million, as its portfolio valuation sank due to weak investor sentiment in the retail sector. 

Earlier this month Intu, which owns Manchester’s Trafford Centre, said it is expecting to report a sharp drop in rental income for 2019 after a higher-than-anticipated volume of insolvencies from its occupants.