Shares in Centro Properties, the indebted Australian property trust, on Thursday jumped a third after its new chief executive said there would be no asset fire sale and expressed confidence banks would be repaid.
Centro, which last month became Australia’s worst casualty of the global credit crunch when it defaulted, has a February 15 deadline to refinance A$3.9bn ($3.4bn) of debt and is considering asset sales as well as a fresh equity infusion from new and existing shareholders to repair its balance sheet.
Australia’s second largest shopping centre owner and the fifth largest owner in the US on Thursday said it planned to open a data room for potential buyers next week. It is considering the sale of Centro Australian Wholesale Fund and Centro America Fund, which respectively have A$2.6bn and A$1.1bn under management.
“Individual asset sales, including those assets in syndicates, are not being considered,” Centro said.
The shares on Thursday closed up 35 per cent at 48 cents. However, they have lost close to 90 per cent of their value since news of the group’s funding difficulties became public in December.
Glenn Rufrano, named last week as chief executive, told the AAP news service he had no plans to sell the group’s shopping centres.
Centro has also asked its syndicate of banks to extend the February deadline.
Mr Rufrano declined to comment on how much fresh equity Centro needed or on which groups had expressed an interest but said there had been “heavy interest” from all over the world.
Centro is being advised by Lazard Carnegie Wylie.
•Shares in Allco Finance rebounded on Thursday after the Australian structured finance group moved to reassure the market its financial position was sound.
On Wednesday one of the Sydney-based group’s biggest shareholders was forced to sell a large block of shares to meet margin calls, pushing them down 26 per cent to A$2.21. But news on Thursday that Allco Finance was in talks to prevent a similar forced sale helped the shares rise 29 per cent to A$2.86.
“This sale is not reflective of Allco Finance Group’s business, performance and prospects,’’ Allco said.
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