Monday, February 25, 2008

FROM: properties that owns hartsdale properties having financial problems

The Credit Market Loss Drama to Impact Greenburgh/Westchester County By Hezi Aris
YONKERS, NY -- The Melbourne, Australian based retail property empire known as Centro Properties Group has been hard hit by an inability to pay off short-term debt that has been the catalyst to bring Austalian Stock Exchange authorities to impose trading halts on its stock being traded as early as mid-December 2007 and thereafter. At the last moment Centro Properties Group, the owner of more than 700 U.S. malls, eight of whom are situated in Westchester County announced that they had been granted a three months reprieve to repay USD $3.5 billion of short-term debt as it proceeded to sell assets to remain financially solvent.
Centro will deliver its half-year result on February 28, 2008. It would not provide a per share earnings forecast for fiscal 2008 until the outcome of the recapitalization is determined.
Creditors including National Australia Bank Ltd. (NAB) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), Australia’s biggest, extended the deadline on A(ustralian) $2.3 billion to April 30, 2008. The deadline on loans of about $1.3 billion associated with its U.S. venture has been moved to September 30, 2008. A syndicate of about a dozen banks, including CBA, Australia-New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ), NAB, and St George, have lent the USD $3.5 billion to Centro. Foreign participants to the lending syndicate included Bank of America (BoA), Wachovia and JPMorgan Chase & Co, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS), and BNP Paribas .

Dalewood I, II & III Shopping Center 353-371 North Central Avenue, Hartsdale, NY 10530-1811
North Central Avenue 1-15 North Central Ave, Hartsdale, NY 10530
Under former company CEO Andrew Scott, A$9 billion of malls were purchased of two years, transforming the owner of Australian regional retail centers into an international mall operator. Scott quit January 15 and was replaced by Rufrano, the head of the company's U.S. business.
The Centro America Fund has A$1.1 billion in assets and investments in 32 U.S. shopping centers. Centro owns 41 percent of that.
Rufrano is seeking to persuade investors and creditors to let Centro retain a A$26.6 billion collection of malls that stretches from Perth, Western Australia to Yonkers, New York.
About 65 percent of the company's assets are in the U.S., including malls gained when Centro paid $5.2 billion in cash and assumed debt for New Plan Excel Realty Trust, the biggest U.S. acquisition by an Australian-based real estate investment trust. Rufrano was CEO of New Plan at the time of the sale.
Scott's expansion into the U.S., based on a strategy of using short-term borrowing to fund long-term investments, collapsed last year as the fallout from the U.S. subprime mortgage market drove up borrowing costs.
The credit crunch also shut off Centro from the commercial mortgage-backed securities market, which the company had relied on for much of its financing.