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Westfield Group merging operations to create largest ASX listed REIT

Westfield Group merging operations to create largest ASX listed REIT
Westfield Group merging operations to create largest ASX listed REIT

Shopping centre giant Westfield Group has this morning unveiled plans to merge its Australian and New Zealand operations with the Westfield Retail Trust to create a new entity and a separate new international group.

The Australian business, to be known as Scentre Group, will be the largest REIT on the Australian Securities Exchange and will have total assets of $28.5 billion, with interests in 47 centres. 

The international arm will become Westfield Corporation and will have total assets of US$17.6 billion, with interests in 44 centres throughout the UK,US and Europe.   Both will be listed on the ASX. 

The restructure will see Westfield Group (WDC) chairman Frank Lowy will chair both new entities.  

"Westfield's international business and its Australian/NZ business have both grown in scale and quality to the stage where they can now stand on their own," said Mr Lowy. "They can each operate more efficiently, and generate growth and value for investors, by being independent."

He said the proposed new structure will allow both companies to "pursue their individual strategic goals and financing plans."  

Under the terms of the proposal, Westfield Retail Trust security holders will receive $285 and 918 securities in the new Scentre Group for every $1000 WRT securities held. The cash payment will be effected through an $850 capital return, equivalent to a pro rata buyback of WRT securities at $3.47 per security.  

WDC security holders will receive 1,000 securities in the new Westfield Corporation and 1,246 securities in Scentre Group for every 1000 WDC securities held. 

WDC and WRT secuirtyholders will vote on the proposal at a meeting in May 2014. 

At 11am, shares in WDC were up about 6.5% or 6x. to $11.04c.

news@propertyobserver.com.au

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