Centro Wins Extension

There's some good news from Australia. Embattled shopping center owner Centro Properties Group has received a two-month extension from its banks to refinance about $3.5 billion in debt. That's a much better outcome than Henry Macklowe is looking at with his debt problems on a portfolio of New York office buildings.

Centro Properties Group, the Australian owner of more than 700 U.S. malls, persuaded banks to give the company an extra two months to refinance A$3.9 billion ($3.5 billion) of debt while it works to sell assets.

Creditors including National Australia Bank Ltd. and Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the nation's biggest, extended the deadline on A$2.3 billion to April 30, Melbourne-based Centro said today in a statement to the Australian Stock exchange. The deadline on loans of about $1.3 billion associated with its U.S. venture has been moved to Sept. 30. The deadline was today.

"The group appreciates the cooperation of its lenders which will allow sufficient time to complete the review of recapitalization options,'' Chief Executive Officer Glenn Rufrano, 58, said in the statement. ``The strategic review is progressing well with a significant number of parties interested in pursuing a recapitalization of the group.''

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