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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 March 2007, 16:56 GMT
Eurotunnel sees 2006 loss narrow
Train going into the Channel Tunnel
Channel Tunnel says shares will resume trading soon
The red ink has ebbed at Channel Tunnel operator Eurotunnel as operating profits rose, and the Anglo-French company says it sees a recovery ahead.

Net losses fell to 204m euros ($268m; 138.8m) in 2006, down from a net loss of 2.8bn euros a year before.

The firm, which has embarked on a major restructuring plan, said it could now "remove the spectre of bankruptcy".

Eurotunnel said its shares should resume trading on the Paris stock exchange later in March.

Share swap

Its shares were pulled from the market in May 2006 as the company was threatened with bankruptcy.

Since then, the company has been operating under a "safeguard procedure", the French version of bankruptcy protection.

Last year its creditors backed its restructuring, designed to reduce its huge debts - which were run up building the Channel Tunnel and then persisted as passenger numbers failed to match forecasts - from 6.2bn to 2.84bn.

A new firm, Groupe Eurotunnel SA, is set to relist in ten to 15 days, Eurotunnel said.

Existing shareholders will be able to swap their current shares for stock in the new company, although 60% of them have to back the proposal for it to go ahead.

"These excellent operational results clearly show that it will be only through the new company Groupe Eurotunnel... that we will finally be able to remove the spectre of bankruptcy that threatened Eurotunnel in 2005," chief executive Jacques Gounon said.

Operating profit in 2006 reached 326m euros, a rise of 42% on a year before.

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