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centro retail shares surge...

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    Centro Retail shares surge
    February 28, 2008 - 11:56AM

    Centro Retail Group, a property trust whose parent company needs to refinance $4.9 billion of debt, posted a record 52% gain in Sydney trade after announcing the maximum it can lose from a US venture.

    The trust can lose no more than $1.2 billion from its investment in Super LLC, a venture that runs many of Centro's U.S. malls, Chief Executive Officer Glenn Rufrano said today on a conference call. Super LLC has total liabilities of $5 billion, Centro Retail said. Melbourne-based Centro Retail today posted a first-half loss as the value of its assets declined.

    ''The current financial challenges faced by both Centro Retail Trust and Centro Properties Group at a corporate level are completely removed from the operational performance of the Business,'' Rufrano said. ''Centro Retail's challenge is to solve the recapitalization of Super LLC.''

    Centro Retail has been tarred by the plunge in the value of its Sydney-based parent Centro Properties Group, the Australian owner of more than 700 US malls whose shares have plunged 90 percent since saying in December it was struggling to raise funds amid the global credit squeeze. It put itself up for sale in December as it works to refinance debt by an April 30 deadline.

    Centro Retail shares gained 16.5 Australian cents to 49.5 cents at 11:07 a.m. on the Australian Stock Exchange, the most since the stock started trading in August 2005. Its parent, which announces first-half results tomorrow, rose 7.5 Australian cents, or 15%, to 57.5 cents.

    Centro Retail's net loss totaled $260.8 million in the six months ended December 31, compared with a profit of $41.9 million a year earlier, the Melbourne-based company said today in a statement.


    Cheers, Pie :-)
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