THERE are fears for hundreds of jobs at Braehead after its owners warned a financial crisis could lead to shopping malls being shut.

Intu, which operates the giant retail hub in Renfrew, has lined up administrators KPMG as a “contingency” in case financial restructuring talks with lenders fail.

The firm has said that, if that happens, it will have to give KPMG funds for certain services or close the doors at its centres.

Intu has until Friday to sort out a new financial footing.

A spokesperson said: “In the event that Intu properties plc is unable to reach a standstill, it is likely it and certain other central entities will fall into administration.

“If that happened, the various group companies would have to put money into the administrator. If the administrator is not pre-funded, then there is a risk that centres may have to close for a period.”

Intu, which also owns the Trafford and Lakeside shopping centres, in Manchester and Essex respectively, had been struggling before coronavirus to fill outlets within some sites and had heavy debts.

It said in March it was in talks with lenders about new funding.

The firm’s financial woes include making a loss of £2billion in 2019.

Responding to the news that Intu Braehead is facing administration, West of Scotland MSP Ross Greer said: “This is devastating news for workers and their families.

“It will have a huge impact on the Renfrewshire economy and comes just a few weeks after Rolls-Royce announced 700 job losses at its site literally just down the road.”

Mr Greer, of the Scottish Greens, added: “This week, the Scottish Government’s own advisers recommended that it adopt a Scottish Greens manifesto proposal, a job guarantee for young people, as a way to help us out of the Covid economic crisis.

“The need for such a guarantee becomes far more urgent as we face job losses on this scale.

“The government must step in with a recovery package for workers in Renfrewshire immediately.

“Hundreds of thousands of new, lasting jobs can be created in Scotland in the industries of the future. Our Scottish Green New Deal would deliver that.”

Renfrew North and Braehead councillor Jane Strang said: “I am hugely concerned to hear that administrators have been called in by the owners of the Braehead shopping centre.

“This was already an extremely worrying time for those who work there and it now looks as though there worst fears might be realised.

“I have written urgently to the CEO of Intu seeking further discussions and calling for full transparency over the future of the site

“If the administrators cannot find an instant solution, we must explore all avenues in order to find a new buyer and work out a new model that can protect the long-term future of premises and jobs in Braehead

“It is a major asset for the local economy and while we need to ensure that a new model will not deter people from also shopping in our towns, this is too major an asset to simply let fail.”

Read all the latest from Renfrewshire and beyond


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