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Centro Reaches Debt Agreement; Shares Surge

hares in Australian property firm Centro Properties Group (opened up 18 percent on Friday after it agreed an extension of maturities on about A$2.8 billion ($2.6 billion) of debt.

Centro, one of Australia's highest profile casualties of the global credit crunch, said on Thursday its banks had agreed to an extension to Dec. 15.

Centro, which owns about 700 U.S. shopping malls, borrowed heavily last year to fund a rapid expansion in the U.S., but ran into trouble after credit markets dried up and it was unable to refinance expiring debt.

Thursday's extension is still subject to some conditions being met by May 30, including the banks agreeing to the process for refinancing or asset sales.

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