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Centro Retail Australia Begins Trading After Reorganization

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Dec. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Centro Retail Australia shares began trading today after Centro Properties Group shareholders and lenders agreed to a plan to wipe out A$2.9 billion ($3 billion) of debt, allowing the creation of the new entity.

Centro Retail shares closed at A$1.74 in Sydney, valuing the 1.34 billion of quoted securities at A$2.3 billion. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.8 percent.

Centro first announced a planned restructuring in 2009 after a debt-fueled U.S. buying spree backfired with the global financial crisis. Share and debt holders of Centro Properties and listed unit Centro Retail Trust approved a proposal last month to give lenders control of the new Centro Retail Australia trust in exchange for forgiving debt.

“Enough of the corporate wreckage has been removed to reveal the quality underlying assets,” JPMorgan Chase & Co. analysts wrote in a Dec. 2 note, placing an “overweight” recommendation on the Centro Retail Australia shares with a price target of A$2.07. “With discipline, further efforts at the corporate level should lock-in relative outperformance.”

The reorganization has been approved by the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Centro said Dec 2.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah McDonald in Sydney at smcdonald23@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shelley Smith at ssmith118@bloomberg.net.

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