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Centro’s Fourth-Biggest Shareholder Will Support New Structure

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Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Orbis Group, the fourth-biggest investor in Centro Retail Trust, will support Centro Properties Group’s sweetened offer made last week, allowing the debt-laden real-estate manager to consolidate funds and avoid liquidation.

Investors in Centro Retail and its responsible entity Centro Properties will vote on a proposal tomorrow to create a new real estate trust that will combine all the group’s funds into one entity that will be mostly owned by its creditors. The plan will allow Centro Properties to avert liquidation and erase A$2.9 billion ($2.9 billion) of debt due on Dec. 15. “We will vote yes,” Managing Director Simon Marais, whose company owns about 3 percent of Centro Retail, said today in a telephone interview. “We were always worried about giving up tangible net assets. That was unfair. Now we don’t have to give that up.”

Centro Properties increased the stake on offer to investors in Centro Retail to 15.9 percent from 14.5 percent on Nov. 18. The group also raised Centro Retail’s portion of net tangible assets in the new trust to 44.4 cents a share from 40.6 cents under the earlier proposal, and offered Centro Retail Trust shareholders 1 share in the new Centro Retail Australia for ever 5.29 securities they currently own, down from 5.8 shares under the earlier plan.

The senior lenders will own 72.3 percent of the new trust, from 73.9 percent earlier, Centro said. Orbis had planned to vote against the earlier proposal.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nichola Saminather in Sydney at nsaminather1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andreea Papuc at apapuc1@bloomberg.net

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