Centro changes name to Federation Centres
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Centro Retail shareholders have overwhelmingly agreed to change the shopping centre company's name to Federation Centres as it attempts to put past problems behind it.
Chairman Bob Edgar told an extraordinary meeting that after a year of addressing issues such as settling a class action, refinancing its debt facility from $1.0 billion to $1.8 billion and reducing its gearing levels the company was ready to move on.
"So, we believe that it is now time to draw a defining line on the past to clearly identify it from our future," he told shareholders.
"As I highlighted, we have worked hard to address legacy issues from the past and we are now ready to put those behind us.
"In addition, we have also worked hard to put the organisation on a strong footing to move forward and we are very proud of what we've achieved to date.
"We believe that changing our name and brand at this point in time is the most definitive way to draw this defining line from the past and, most importantly, signal the evolution of our business."
Mr Edgar said the word Federation was an important part of the new brand because it was an organisation of individual shopping centres, supported by local communities, but also supported by the corporate group.
The company owns 41 shopping centres across Australia and manages a further 43.
More than 99 per cent of shareholders voted in favour of the name change.
Centro was one of Australia's highest-profile casualties of the global financial crisis, succumbing to massive debts mainly due to its exposure to the US market.
It underwent a restructure to become Centro Retail Australia in December 2011, with a sole focus on Australian shopping centres.
In May Centro settled a class action bought against the company and its auditor in 2008.
Investors had accused Centro of engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct by not disclosing its 2007 financial report that it had at least $3 billion of interest-bearing debt falling due within 12 months.
The company contributed $85.6 million to the settlement, plus incurred a $203.3 million loss related to special securities issued to compensate some of its securityholders in the event of a settlement.
The settlement contributed to Centro suffering a $223 million loss for the seven months to June 30.