MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA-A victim of the global credit crunch, Australia’s Centro Properties Group says it is seeking expressions of interest for some or all of its retail assets. It faces a Feb. 15 deadline to refinance approximately $3.4 billion in short-term debt, most of which it incurred to finance its March 2007, $6.2-billion acquisition of New York City-based New Plan Excel Realty Trust Inc.

The company owns 674 shopping centers in the US and 128 in Australia and New Zealand. Its appetite for US malls began in late 2004 with the acquisition of Philadelphia-based Kramont Realty Trust.

In October 2006, it paid $3.2 billion for Boston-based Heritage Property Investment Trust. With the New Plan Excel buy, it owns about 90 million sf of US retail space, primarily strip malls spread across 40 states.

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