The crisis at Centro Properties deepened yesterday when the heavily indebted Australian investment group abruptly replaced its chief executive and admitted to disagreements with its bankers over the status of its liabilities. Financial Times

The Melbourne-based group, which is struggling to refinance some A$3.9bn (US$3.5bn) in short-term debt, said it disputed suggestions from one set of creditors that it had defaulted on a $450m private placement.

It also revealed that it might have misclassified some of its debt and that its current liabilities could be higher than previously disclosed, although its total debt was unchanged.

The group gave no explanation for the resignation, with immediate effect, of Andrew Scott, its chief executive since 1997. Mr Scott, who will act as a consultant to the company until March, will be replaced by Glenn Rufrano, previously head of Centro’s US business.