Centro Retail Investors Back Name Change to Federation Centres

Centro Retail Australia shareholders today approved a plan to change the mall operator’s name to Federation Centres.

About 99.8 percent of investor votes cast at a special meeting today were in favor of the change, the Melbourne-based group said in regulatory filing. The corporate re-branding cost is about A$1.5 million ($1.58 million) and the cost to replace signage at the group’s malls is about A$7.5 million, it said.

The change follows the restructure of debt-laden Centro Properties Group and its managed funds that allowed the company to erase A$2.9 billion of loans accumulated during a U.S. buying spree in 2006 and 2007. The company has sold off its overseas assets, settled a class action lawsuit by investors, and reduced and refinanced debt.

“It is now time to draw a defining line on the past to clearly identify it from our future,” Chairman Bob Edgar said in the statement. “Our vision is to be a pure property REIT with a simplified structure –- a shopping center owner and manager in the Australian market.”

The company will rebrand 24 malls by December and the rest of its shopping centers over the next two years, it said.

Centro shares rose 32 percent in 2012, and have fallen 0.9 percent to A$2.25 this year.

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