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Braehead shopping shakes off pandemic hangover

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SGS – the group that also owns Atria Watford, the Lakeside in Essex, and the Victoria Centre in Nottingham – completed a recapitalisation of its portfolio that included £445 million of new financing from Lloyds Bank. This is made up of a £395m senior term loan and a £50m capital expenditure facility.

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The group, previously known as Intu SGS, had been controlled by its creditors since Intu collapsed into administration under the weight of its debts during the Covid pandemic. SGS then separated from Intu Properties with Alix Partners appointed to an executive management and board role, Global Mutual brought in as asset manager, and Savills as property manager.

The residual £1.3 billion of SGS debt not repaid from the transaction has been exchanged into equity or equitylike equivalents. The deal received support from 100% of creditors.

As part of the deal, a new SGS board has been appointed with Jaap Tonckens, former group chief financial officer of Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, joining as non-executive chairman.

“These leading retail and leisure assets have gone from strength to strength since separating from Intu four years ago due to the excellent work of Alix Partners, the outgoing board members, Global Mutual and Savills,” Mr Tonckens declared.

“The overwhelming support for the recapitalisation reflects this very strong performance and investor confidence in prime shopping centres. I look forward to being a part of the next phase of the SGS journey and working with the new board to build upon the achievements to date.”

The airline industry has also continued its strong run since rebounding from Covid restrictions, with Scotland’s airports benefitting from a flurry of announcements on new routes and additional capacity.

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This renaissance was evident in the latest annual results from budget carrier Ryanair, which announced that it made a pre-tax profit of £1.64 billion during the year to the end of March, up 34% on the previous year and surpassing its previous record of £1.26bn during the year to March 2018. Passenger numbers were 9% higher at 184 million.

The strength of the urge for consumers to spread their wings was reflected in a 21% increase in average ticket prices to £49.80, but there are signs that soaring ticket prices may begin coming back to Earth. The Irish carrier had previously expected a further 10% increase in fares this summer, but confirmed on May 21 this has failed to materialise with prices now predicted to be broadly flat.

“It is a bit surprising pricing hasn’t been stronger and we’re not quite sure whether that’s just consumer sentiment or recessionary feel around Europe but we still see peak travel demand certainly through July and August being strong,” Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said.

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He added that if Ryanair must discount in April, May and June of next year, then “so be it”.

Elsewhere, a historic manufacturer that has been making industrial pumps at the same site in Glasgow for 138 years was named “company of the year” at the Scottish Engineering awards.

ClydeUnion Pumps, now part of US engineering giant Celeros Flow Technology, was awarded the accolade at a ceremony in Glasgow. The company, whose roots trace back to the foundation of G&J Weir in 1871, has been manufacturing from its current site in Cathcart on the south side of the city since 1886.

“We are so proud to receive this recognition, particularly given the quality of the entries from our peers this year,” Celeros director of global engineering Gary Walker said.

“The award is a testament to the ClydeUnion Pumps team, our customers and partners, who have all contributed to making the brand into a global leader in the manufacture and maintenance of safety-critical industrial pumps.”

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