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Centro demerger edges ever closer

CENTRO PROPERTIES and its associate Centro Retail Trust have moved a step closer to its impending demerger and restructure with the appointment of Bob Edgar as the chairman of the planned $4 billion trust.

CENTRO PROPERTIES and its associate Centro Retail Trust have moved a step closer to its impending demerger and restructure with the appointment of Bob Edgar as the chairman of the planned $4 billion trust.

The two groups are in court finalising details of the de-coupling of the businesses and sale of assets and the subsequent creation of a new fund that will own Centro's Australian shopping centres.

Investors will get to vote on the strategic implementation plan in mid-November, after which the two groups will be formally dissolved. That will be a month before the four-year anniversary when Centro's former chief executives, led by the founder Andrew Scott, revealed the global shopping centre owner and manager was unable to repay close to $4 billion of debt due by the end of calendar 2007.

That admission saw close to 90 per cent of Centro's market value disappear over two days. The two stocks are still trading at under 10?.

Mr Edgar's appointment will see the group emerge debt free after a four-year battle with bankers and disgruntled investors.

Mr Edgar worked for 25 years at the ANZ Banking Group in various senior roles including deputy chief executive, senior managing director, chief operating officer and chief economist.

Since leaving, he now holds a number of board positions at Asciano, Transurban Group and Nufarm.

Following his appointment, the Centro board will be looking at candidates for chief executive of the new fund to replace the incumbent Robert Tsenin.

The Centro Properties chairman, Paul Cooper, said Mr Edgar's appointment to the new fund was a significant further step forward in the group's restructuring efforts.


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