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PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA-Sunday evening, following a meeting of its board on Saturday, Dec. 18, Kramont Realty Trust has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Centro Watt America REIT III LLC for approximately $610 million in cash, or $23.50 per common share. This represents a premium of approximately 17% over locally based Kramont’s $20.08-a-share closing price on Friday, Dec. 17.

This is Centro’s third major US acquisition. Australia-based Centro Properties Group and Santa Monica, CA-based Watt Commercial Properties formed Centro Watt America REIT in October 2003 when it acquired 14 California shopping centers with an aggregate of 3.1 million sf for $488 million. On Friday, an offshoot, Centro Watt America REIT II, acquired three Atlanta-area power centers, aggregating 691,000 sf, for a price estimated by GlobeSt.com at $103 million.

Centro values the Kramont acquisition at almost $1.3 billion. The purchase adds approximately 93 neighborhood and community shopping centers, aggregating nearly 12.6 million sf across 16 states, to Centro’s US holdings. This takes the JV’s total US portfolio to nearly 16.4 million sf. The Kramont acquisition is expected to close during the first quarter of 2005.

More acquisitions may be in the offing. Prior to the open of trading on the Australian Stock Exchange on Monday, Dec. 20, Centro requested a halt in the trading of its securities, “pending a further announcement.” A letter to the ASX, signed by Danielle Rowe, Centro’s secretary, said, “Centro further requests that because more than one announcement may be made during the course of the next 48 hours it is important that this trading halt not be lifted until Centro advises the ASX that the details of a particular matter to which the trading halt relates have been completed.”

In a statement issued Sunday evening, Louis P. Meshon Sr., Kramont’s president and CEO, said that the deal provides a buyer with, “the wherewithal to complete the transaction and fund the forward operations of the company, including its obligations into the future.”

In a simultaneously released statement, Brian Healey, Centro’s chairman, called the Kramont investment “particularly significant as it provides the Centro Watt joint venture with a comprehensive retail property-management platform on the US East Coast, which complements its solid West-Coast management team. The opportunity to acquire a large US-listed, retail property-focused REIT demonstrates the ability of the Centro Watt team to identify and provide Centro with access to retail property assets strengthening Centro’s North American management capability.”

“The Centro Watt joint venture will inherit a strong staff base with 12 senior officers and an additional 135 employees,” added Andrew Scott, Centro’s CEO. “The team will complement and bolster the existing Centro Watt management team.”

Centro’s Australia retail portfolio is valued in excess of US$5.2 billion and encompasses 130 shopping centers, aggregating more than 20 million sf across main population areas throughout the country.

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