Australian retail REIT Centro Properties Group has agreed to buy Kramont Realty Trust for $610 million. Centro will buy the U.S retail REIT with joint venture partner Watt Commercial Properties.

Philadelphia-based Kramont owns and operates 93 shopping centers worth $1.24 billion. The portfolio is scattered across 16 states. Eighty percent of Kramont’s properties are occupied by supermarkets, drug stores or discounters.

Kramont shareholders will receive $23.50 per share in cash along with the stated quarterly dividend of $.32 that will be distributed in January 2005. The sale price represents a 17% premium over Kramont’s closing share price of $20.08 last Friday.

Centro is Australia’s fourth largest REIT by market value. Over the past 12 months, Australian REITs have increasingly moved offshore as a way to cope with massive consolidations on their own turf. So far this year, there have been roughly $22 billion (US) worth of merger-related deals in Australia.