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Centro Shares Surge

Excellent news from Australia today. There may be light at the end of the tunnel yet for Centro Properties Group. Shares of Centro Retail Group--one of the traded subsidiaries--surged when new CEO Glenn Rufrano laid out during a company conference call that potential losses from a one of its venture are $1.2 billlion, which is not as much as many had feared.

Centro Retail Group, a property trust whose parent company needs to refinance A$4.9 billion ($4.6 billion) of debt, rose as much as 90 percent in Sydney trading after announcing the maximum it can lose from a U.S. venture.

The trust can lose no more than $1.2 billion from its investment in Super LLC, a venture that runs many of Centro's U.S. malls, Chief Executive Officer Glenn Rufrano said today on a conference call. Super LLC has total liabilities of $5 billion, Melbourne-based Centro Retail said.

Centro Retail, which has $1.1 billion of debt it must repay to U.S. creditors by Sept. 30 at the latest, has been tarred by the plunge in the value of its Sydney-based parent Centro Properties Group. The Australian owner of more than 700 U.S. malls has lost 90 percent of its value since saying in December it was struggling to raise funds amid the global credit squeeze.

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