Centro Properties Continues Debt Talks as Receivership Looms

Centro Properties Group, the owner of 794 shopping malls in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, is continuing talks with lenders to extend more than $4.5 billion of borrowings by Dec. 15 after failing to raise new capital, Bloomberg reported. The real estate investment trust may have to go into receivership unless creditors including Commonwealth Bank of Australia Ltd. and National Australia Bank Ltd. agree to roll over loans, Melbourne-based Centro said today in a statement. Centro's proposals include an offer for banks to accept a hybrid security that would stabilize the company by lowering debt. Centro, which lost 99 percent of its market value in the past 12 months, is struggling to sell assets amid slumping values for malls stretching from Yonkers, New York to Perth, Western Australia. Since the start of the year some 35 stores at Centro's U.S. malls indicated they will close or reject their leases as retailers including Linens `n Things Inc. and Circuit City Stores Inc. file for bankruptcy after retail sales slumped nationwide. Read more.