Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments), which has been lender to the Trafford Centre since 2017, has taken ownership of the UK shopping mall after unsuccessful attempts to find a buyer.

A sales process for the Manchester shopping centre – and one of the largest in the UK – was initiated this year after its owner Intu entered into administration. Today, CPP Investments said it had exercised its rights as principal secure creditor to acquire shares in the asset.

CPP Investments provided a £250m (€273m) facility to Intu Trafford Centre Group, a subsidiary of Intu and indirect owner of the Manchester mall, in 2017 through its debt arm CPPIB Credit.

The C$457bn (€289bn) Canadian investor has experience as an equity investor in major UK shopping centres, with investments in London’s Westfield Stratford, and the Bullring and Grand Central in Birmingham.

“The Trafford Centre is one of the UK’s top five shopping centres, welcoming more than 30m shoppers annually, and counts many leading global retailers among its occupiers,” said Geoff Souter, managing director and head of real assets credit at CPPIB Credit.

“While conditions for retail in 2020 have been very challenging, we are able to take a long-term view and believe that, with strategic management and investment, the Trafford Centre has strong prospects.

“An immediate priority is to support the Trafford Centre’s management, ensuring continued optimal operation of the Trafford Centre, and to appoint a long-term expert operating partner.” 

CPPIB Credit said it would evaluate the Trafford Centre’s “complex capital structure to ensure it supports the return to long-term viability”.