(Alliance News) - Shopping centre owner intu Properties PLC confirmed Monday plans to raise equity at the end of February when its 2019 financial results are released.
intu made the statement after the Sunday Times, over the weekend, reported Asian property firm Link Real Estate Investment Trust was to "ride to the rescue" of intu.
The company on Monday confirmed Link Real Estate, which is listed in Hong Kong, was part of the negotiations, which would see it become a new shareholder in intu.
intu said talks with existing shareholders including Peel Group are "constructive". Peel Group, which owns 27% of intu, is owned by businessman John Whittaker.
"The company will make further announcements in due course, as appropriate. There can be no certainty that the equity raise will be implemented nor as to the terms on which any such implementation might occur," said intu.
The statement on Monday comes after intu in January confirmed a possible late-February fundraise, after a similar article in the Sunday Times.
The company is currently looking to fix a struggling balance sheet and has made a number of disposals recently to reduce debt. These include EUR765 million of sales in Spain in December and January.
In November, intu warned net rental income is to decline in November as trading conditions for retailers in the UK remain difficult.
On Monday, data from Springboard Footfall Monitor & Insights showed footfall fell 0.5% annually in January, an improvement from December's 2.5% fall and a 0.7% decline last January.
Springboard also said shopping centres registered a 0.2% annual rise in footfall in January, the first increase in nearly three years.
Springboard said: "Whilst a rise of 0.2% is only a modest increase it brings some much-needed hope for this destination type that has consistently lost shoppers for over two years.
"It seems this is an early sign the regeneration schemes long-planned by owners to broaden the offer of malls to incorporate a greater experiential element, particularly in the larger malls, are working and they now better reflect consumer demands."
intu shares closed 2.5% lower in London on Friday at 13.06 pence each. In Johannesburg on Monday, they rose 3.1% to ZAR2.66.
By George Collard; firstname.lastname@example.org
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