UK - One of the biggest restructurings of commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) since the start of the financial crisis has been given the go-ahead for a leading UK shopping centre fund.

Aviva Investors has obtained consent from investors and bondholders to extend and adjust the terms of the £1bn (€1.sbn) CMBS loan held by The Mall Fund.

The £1.2bn closed-end vehicle currently has 16 underlying shopping centre assets, but has seen a number of disposals in recent months, as fund manager Aviva Investors has sought to reduce its leverage.

In June, it sold a number of shopping centres in England and Scotland for £136m to a joint venture between Rockspring Property Investment Managers and former Mall Fund directors Alastair Bell and John Wood.

It also sold The Exchange Shopping Centre in Ilford to M B Roding for more £70.6m, and toward the end of last year sold Bexleyheath Shopping Centre to LaSalle Investment Management for close to £100m.

Investors, CMBS bondholders and the fund's property asset manager, as well as co-investor Capital & Regional, have now allowed Aviva Investors to extend the maturity of the bonds.

Aviva Investors said this would enable further orderly deleveraging and repayment of debt over the next five years.

The restructuring proposals would include an extension of the maturity date of an inter-company loan by the three years to 2015 and the legal maturity of floating rate notes from 2014 to 2017, as well as a cash contribution of £155m and an increase in the loan's margin from 0.18% to 0.68% from April 2011.

The fund manager expects the restructuring to be implemented in the near future, now that the key conditions have been fulfilled.

Robert Finch, chairman of The Mall Fund, said: "We see this as a vote of confidence in The Mall Fund's value to its bondholders and unitholders and would like to thank them for their continued faith in the fund as an investment proposition."

Richard Jones, managing director of UK Real Estate at Aviva Investors, added: "Aviva Investors and Capital & Regional were committed to finding a solution to restructure The Mall Fund that would be agreeable to both debt and equity holders.

"There is a significant amount of real estate debt outstanding in the market, and we are pleased to have reached a solution for The Mall Fund that ensures it can continue to be managed prudently over the next five years and aim to maximise returns for all stakeholders."