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Last Updated: Monday, 27 November 2006, 11:31 GMT
Eurotunnel wins debt plan support
Eurotunnel train
Eurotunnel has faced a long battle to get its debt plan adopted
Eurotunnel's creditors have narrowly voted in favour of its latest debt restructuring plan, averting the danger of the company going into liquidation.

The Channel Tunnel operator said in a statement that creditors representing 72% of its debt had backed the deal.

The Anglo-French firm owes 4.2bn (6.2bn euros) to 54 creditors.

Eurotunnel ran up massive debts building the Channel Tunnel, which opened in 1994. Its passenger numbers then failed to meet projections.

The company is currently operating under a so-called "safeguard procedure" - the French version of bankruptcy protection - on the direction of the Commercial Court in Paris.

Had the creditors failed to approve the plan, the court might have liquidated the firm and sell all its assets. The licence to run the tunnel would have been returned to the French and British governments.

Eurotunnel now has to take a second hurdle and win the approval of its bondholders in the middle of December.

'Rebirth'

Under the new deal, existing shareholders will have a minimum 13% stake in a new company that will make an offer for Eurotunnel's shares early next year.

It is now time for Eurotunnel to be reborn and become a new company
Eurotunnel boss Jacques Gounon

Eurotunnel had earlier described the offer as the "most realistic and balanced plan that can be imagined".

The new firm, Groupe Eurotunnel, will be bolstered by a long-term loan of 2.84bn from a consortium of banks including Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Citigroup.

"It is now time for Eurotunnel to be reborn and become a new company," said Eurotunnel chairman and chief executive Jacques Gounon.

"Eurotunnel can finally emerge from the rut in which it has been for over 20 years."

Despite fears Eurotunnel might go into liquidation, there was never any suggestion that the day-to-day running of the Channel Tunnel would be affected.




SEE ALSO
Eurotunnel sends out debt plans
01 Nov 06 |  Business
Eurotunnel unveils new debt deal
26 Oct 06 |  Business
Eurotunnel gets court protection
02 Aug 06 |  Business
Court delays Eurotunnel decision
25 Jul 06 |  Business
Eurotunnel eyes 'rapid' debt deal
19 Jul 06 |  Business
Insolvency warning at Eurotunnel
13 Jul 06 |  Business

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