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Canada Pension Plan in talks to raise stake in Intu's Spanish retail portfolio

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board is in early stages of negotiations to increase its 50% stake in U.K.-based Intu Properties PLC's Spanish shopping centers portfolio, The (UK) Times reported.

The portfolio includes the Intu Asturias shopping mall in Oviedo and the Puerto Venecia Shopping Centre in Zaragoza, as well as the Xanadú shopping center in Madrid, which Intu owns in a joint venture with Nuveen Real Estate, the March 18 report added.

According to the British retail real estate investment trust's 2018 earnings release, its stake in the three malls was valued at a total of £628.8 million.

The REIT is finding it difficult to divest properties as it tackles the rise in its debt-to-asset ratio as a result from a 13% decline in the value of its British shopping center portfolio to £7.5 billion in 2018.

The company's U.K. portfolio is also facing pressure from retailers entering into administration or company voluntary arrangements, as the company expects to find property sales in the country to be challenging until Brexit is resolved.

The two companies declined to comment, the publication reported.