M&G Investment has extended the suspension of its £2.5bn (€2.94bn) open-ended UK property fund to “protect the interests” of its investors.

M&G said it was “making good progress” in raising cash to meet redemptions ahead of a reopening of the M&G Property Portfolio.

The fund was temporarily gated in December so it could raise cash without being forced to sell assets at discounts.

Cash represented 4.8% of the fund at the end of January and this is expected to rise to 16% when £245m of assets are sold.

M&G also said it was close to reducing the fund’s exposure to retail property from 32% to 38% – 80% of assets sold or due to exchange were in the sector.

Values in the retail property sector in the UK are have been hit in recent months. Just today, Hammerson, a retail-focused real estate investment trust, announced today that it had seen £828m of value wiped off its portfolio by revaluations.

Tony Brown, global head of M&G Real Estate, said: “We are making good headway in a more liquid market than last year and every effort is being made to ensure we can reopen as soon as possible – we appreciate your patience in this matter.”

M&G said the fund continued to be actively managed, with income payments and reporting as normal.

It is also continuing to waive 30% of the fund’s annual charge ”in recognition of the inconvenience caused”.