Australia’s richest man, Westfield founder Frank Lowy, has had his first real taste of the global economic slowdown after being forced to slash $3 billion of the value of Westfield’s shopping centre portfolio.
Westfield, which owns 119 malls in US, Britain, Australia and Asia, has held up better than a lot of other property trusts during the downturn, but collapsing consumer spending around the world has forced the company to adjust the value of its $50 billion portfolio.
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Analysts also expect Westfield may be forced to trim its dividends as the economy slows further this year.
Westfield’s shares have fallen sharply over the last two days, dropping from $12.21 to $11.45 this morning.
That fall has knocked almost $135 million of the value of the Lowy family’s stake in the company. It’s shareholding is worth just over $2 billion.