Centro free to merge as PwC drops appeal

CENTRO PROPERTIES will move to its next phase of being a debt-free, simply-structured retail landlord, after the accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers withdrew a legal threat to block a merger with its sister retail trust.

CENTRO PROPERTIES will move to its next phase of being a debt-free, simply-structured retail landlord, after the accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers withdrew a legal threat to block a merger with its sister retail trust.

Following nearly four years of battling to stay alive, Centro was given the green light to move ahead after PwC backed down from appealing the NSW Supreme Court's decision on the deal with Centro Retail Trust.

Centro's shares were suspended from trade yesterday morning for one last time. On Monday, the fund will list on the ASX on a deferred delivery basis, and from December 15, it will be reborn as the new $3.4 billion Centro Retail Australia.

After gaining the court's approval on Thursday, PwC called for a stay of execution to read the judgment and decide whether to appeal. That was granted by Justice Ian Barrett.

But at the 11th hour it pulled out of the action.

PwC forced the court action after it objected to the Centro scheme, which included a payment of $49.8 million to Centro equityholders, but left only $10 million for significant contingent liabilities arising from the class action.

The chief executive of Centro, Robert Tsenin, told a media briefing he was delighted with the outcome and it was time to put the past behind the group.

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