Westfield, the world's biggest shopping centre owner, is putting on hold all new developments this year in the wake of a A$2.2bn (£1bn) annual loss.

In its 2008 results published this morning, the Australian-based company said that the loss was a result of A$3.3bn (£1.5bn) of writedowns, as well as A$1.3bn (£593m) of cash mark-to-market adjustments of financial instruments.

By suspending 14 new developments this year, it plans to save A$2bn (£908m) but it will continue its development in Stratford for the London 2012 Olympics.

Operating profit increased 10.4% to A$1.94bn (£884m) and it paid a full-year dividend of 106.5 cents a share.

Westfield raised A$3bn (£1.3bn) of new equity last year and secured A$1.6bn (£729m)of new debt. Its gearing is 34.6% with available liquidity of A$8.7bn (£4bn).

The company, which owns 119 shopping centres, said that income growth in Australia and New Zealand of 4.8% offset declines of 1.8% in the UK and 0.5% in the US.

Steven Lowy, managing director at Westfield, said: ‘Redevelopment is a major component of out long term value creation activity and we will continue to invest in the predevelopment of our high quality opportunities in order to be in a position to re-commence these projects when conditions are appropriate.’