Infrastructure build plans offer glimmer of hope

CAPE TOWN – Intu, the UK shopping centre group founded by Liberty Group founder Donny Gordon, threw in the towel on Friday and went into administration, dragging the rest of the property sector lower on the JSE.

Unsurprisingly, intu’s share price plunged 72.38percent to only 29cents a share on Friday morning, before being suspended on the JSE and on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), after the group, once a favoured stock among local investors seeking quality property assets offshore, said it had failed to reach agreements with its lenders about a debt standstill.

Also continuing to fall hard was the share price of intu’s bigger competitor Hammerson, which owns shopping malls in the UK and in Western Europe, and which in 2016 was the biggest share on the JSE.

Hammerson management are still no doubt smarting from private equity firm Orion’s withdrawal last month out of a deal to buy seven retail parks from Hammerson for £400million (R8.5billion).

The deal was meant to have strengthened Hammerson’s balance sheet to carry it through a seismic shift in the UK retail property market.