Shopping centre owner Colonial First State Retail has refinanced $125m of debt with a local bank for another two years.

Portfolio manager for the trust Michael Gorman said it had to pay a higher margin for the facility, but the drop in the underlying interest rate was greater than the spread of margin.

Gorman said the facility was due to mature in June this year. He said it was now taking an average of nine weeks to negotiate and document loans, compared with two weeks before the credit crunch.

'We have started working with our bankers to extend the next tranche of debt due to expire in December,' he said. 'We are pretty confident that we will be able to replace the facility.'

The Australian