Westfield delays vote to split up its empire as shareholders object

 
Oliver Smith
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WESTFIELD yesterday delayed plans to restructure its AU$70bn (£39bn) empire after shareholders failed to back the plan.

Westfield Group, which is listed in its Australian homeland, plans to form a company called Westfield Corporation to house its UK and overseas operations, but delayed the crucial vote by up to two weeks after shareholders looked unlikely to support the plan.

Under the proposal Westfield’s native operations in Australia and New Zealand would be merged with the Westfield Retail Trust to create a company called Scentre Group. Both Scentre and Westfield Corp will remain listed.

The surprise development yesterday came after investors in Westfield Retail Trust appeared set to reject the plan with only 74.1 per cent of proxy votes cast by investors supporting it, below the 75 per cent threshold. The proposal was overwhelmingly approved by Westfield Group shareholders.