THE owner of Metrocentre is on the brink of collapse after failing to secure its future during crunch talks with lenders, it has emerged.

Intu Properties, which also runs Eldon Square in Newcastle, has said it will 'likely' appoint administrators on Friday.

The move means that if administrators do not provide Intu Metrocentre with upfront funding needed to continue running then it will have to close.

Intu Metrocentre is already facing the major loss of Debenhams and a number of high street names including Carphone Warehouse, who did not reopen their stores.

The shopping centre, which at one point was Europe's largest, has more than 200 restaurants and retail businesses currently using the site.

But in a statement from Intu, which has until midnight on Friday to reach a deal, it said "insufficient alignment and agreement has been achieved".

It added: "The board is therefore considering the position of Intu with a view to protecting the interests of its stakeholders.

"This is likely to involve the appointment of administrators. A further announcement will be made as soon as possible."

What does this mean for Intu Metrocentre?

Earlier this week, Intu confirmed it had placed administrators KPMG on stand-by as it desperately tried to secure a deal on its current loan agreements.

The group has struggled under a £4.5 billion debt burden for the past year, but has been hammered by significantly lower rent payments from retail tenants since the coronavirus outbreak.

Intu warned that its shopping malls may be forced to shut if it was unable to secure the standstill agreement.

Intu employs about 3,000 staff across the UK, while a further 102,000 work for the shops within its shopping centres.

Yesterday, a spokesperson for Intu told The Northern Echo: "As intu announced earlier this week, in the event of an administration, centres would need to provide up front funding to KPMG to cover the cost of continuing to provide central services like front line centre staff and back office support like IT.

"If a centre is unable to pay for these services to continue, it may have to close temporarily. There has been no indication as to which, if any, centres that would apply to."