The UK’s largest car park operator NCP has started a court process to help it cut rents and exit contracts for unprofitable parking facilities. NCP says it has been ‘deeply impacted’ by the pandemic, with revenues falling by 80%.
Its Japanese owner Park24 has told the firm that it will withdraw funding if NCP’s restructuring is unsuccessful. NCP said the court process was a ‘last resort’ to safeguard the future of its business and 1,000 staff. The firm said it had tried to agree deals with the landlords to reduce its rent burden on the 500 sites it operates. A withdrawal of funding from its owner could cause NCP to become insolvent.
‘NCP has been deeply impacted since last year due to the pandemic - sales during the full lockdowns have typically been about 80% below normal levels; outside lockdown they have not grown beyond about 50% for any length of time,’ the firm said. It added that the pandemic had ‘rapidly accelerated the pace of societal change’, citing a combination of increased flexible working, traffic control measures and the rapid growth of online shopping as the reasons why fewer people were visiting cities and town centres.
‘This is not a short-term problem ‒ many high streets and train stations are unlikely to ever recover their pre-pandemic footfall,’ NCP said.