COLLAPSE FEARS: Customers at Lismore Central are unlikely to see any changes, the owner said.
COLLAPSE FEARS: Customers at Lismore Central are unlikely to see any changes, the owner said.

Its business as usual despite credit crunch

By Alex Easton alex.easton@northernstar.com.au CUSTOMERS and traders at Lismore Central shopping centre are unlikely to see any changes even if the centre's embattled Centro owner collapses, the company says.

Centro, the country's second biggest shopping centre owner, is among the Australian companies hardest-hit by the global credit crunch.

The company's troubles began last month, when it announced it was having trouble refinancing $3.9 billion in short-term debt.

By yesterday morning, shares that only last May were trading at more than $10 each, were worth a pathetic 46 cents.

That's bad news for Centro, which this week dumped its chief executive, and for its shareholders, but not for the retailers or shoppers at Lismore Central," the company's chief operating officer Graham Terry said.

"It's totally business as usual," Mr Terry said. "We have 120 shopping centres and it's the same with all of them."

A worst-case scenario for Centro would be if it was forced to sell off its shopping centres which are prized assets because most are anchored by Woolworths and Coles supermarkets and therefore considered stable investments.



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