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Westfield Says Assets Depreciated $3B in 2008

Westfield Group Ltd shares were down more than six per cent after the retail property investor flagged that its shopping centre assets would depreciate by $3 billion in its full year results for calendar 2008 because of an increase in capitalisation rates.

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"It is expected that the group's IFRS result for 2008 will include a reduction of approximately $3 billion in the value of the group's shopping centre assets due principally to an upward movement in capitalisation rates," Westfield said.

"However the total value of the group's assets as at 31 December 2008 is anticipated to exceed the $50.4 billion reported as at 30 June 2008, primarily as a result of the effect of the strengthening US dollar on the value of the group's US assets."

Westfield managing director Steven Lowy acknowledged the group was "not immune from macro-economic factors", telling the The Australian Financial Review that the effects of the financial crisis on them was in line with what has been happening around the world.

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"For the 12 months to 31 December 2009, assuming no material changes in currency exchange rates or economic conditions, the group expects to earn operational segment earnings per security in the range of 97 cents to 100 cents," Westfield said.

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