Australia’s richest man takes $3 billion property hit

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.

 

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.

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