Westfield Group (ASX: WDC) today welcomed Westfield Retail Trust (ASX: WRT) investors’ approval to merge with WDC’s Australasian business.

The approval paves the way for the creation of two new, independent companies – Scentre Group, which will own and operate WDC’s Australian and New Zealand business, and Westfield Corporation which will own and operate WDC’s international business.

The Chairman of WDC, Mr Frank Lowy AC, said he was pleased with the result because it reflected the will of the overwhelming majority of investors in both WDC and WRT.

“Achieving a 75% ‘yes’ vote was a high hurdle but we were always confident of the intrinsic strategic merit and fairness of the proposal to both entities and we now look forward to the creation of what will be two new, great companies,” he said.

The proposal to separate Westfield Group’s Australian and NZ business from its international business was announced in December 2013 and was based on the fact that each business now had the necessary size and scope, supported by depth of executive talent, to compete effectively and thrive on their own.

It was also based on the belief that allowing investors the option of two entities, representing different markets, as well as somewhat different investment opportunities and currency options, would unlock significant value and choice for shareholders.

As previously announced, Mr Frank Lowy, will chair both Westfield Corporation and Scentre Group.

Peter and Steven Lowy will be Co-Chief Executive Officers of Westfield Corporation and Westfield Group Chief Financial Officer, Peter Allen, will become Chief Executive Officer of Scentre Group.

The proposal remains subject to a number of conditions, including WDC obtaining the necessary orders from the Supreme Court of NSW at the Second Court Hearing scheduled for Monday 23 June 2014.

Subject to satisfaction of these conditions the last day of trading in WDC securities will be Tuesday 24 June 2014.  Scentre Group securities will commence trading on a deferred basis on Wednesday 25 June 2014.  These dates remain subject to change pending the outcome of the Court process.