The heavily indebted cross Channel tunnel operator Eurotunnel has been given at least another six months to try and sort out a debt restructuring as a commercial court in Paris granted it legal protection from its creditors. The move comes after 15 months of failed negotiations over restructuring the nine billion euros of debt. Chief Executive Jacques Gounon said: “The negotiations I’ve been conducting and that I will immediately restart, I hope should quickly end the impasse and allow a satisfactory proposal to be submitted to the court.”
Despite revenue of 973 million euros last year, Eurotunnel cannot hope to pay off its massive debt without restructuring. A majority of the shareholders are French private individuals who have no say in the restructuring process. The court bankruptcy protection means Eurotunnel can continue operating while debt talks continue. To help it reach a deal, the court appointed two judicial administrators to work with Eurotunnel on the restructuring and also named two lawyers to work with the creditors. The court was asked to intervene after a minority group of its lenders rejected a restructuring plan because they said it did not give them enough.