UPDATE 2-Praktiker, investors agree on rescue plan
* Major investors, company struck deal to avoid bankruptcy
* Fund manager de Krassny now backs management's rescue plan
* Two supervisory board members step down (Releads)
By Jan Schwartz
HAMBURG, July 4 (Reuters) - Praktiker AG, the struggling German DIY chain, and its major investors struck a compromise late on Wednesday in a last-ditch attempt to stave off bankruptcy.
Fund manager Isabella de Krassny, whose backers held a majority at Praktiker's annual shareholders' meeting on Wednesday, said she was now backing management's restructuring plan after insisting earlier for approval of her own plan.
In return, Praktiker bowed to shareholders' demands to replace two supervisory board members with candidates backed by de Krassny.
Praktiker said Kay Hafner and Ebbe Pelle Jacobsen were stepping down as supervisory board members with immediate effect.
During the shareholders meeting, de Krassny had stepped up her opposition to the company's rescue plan, to which management had said there was no alternative.
"We demand the resignation at least of all the supervisory board members," de Krassny told the meeting.
De Krassny said the investors in her camp, which include big shareholders Maseltov and Semper Constantia, have the management experience to lead the company and access to at least 55 million euros ($69.3 million) in financing.
Praktiker had been seeking shareholder permission to raise up to 60 million euros in a capital increase and accept an 85 million euro loan from U.S. investor Anchorage. In exchange, Anchorage would gain options for 15 percent of Praktiker's stock, a plan that has angered shareholders.
Before the meeting, Praktiker, in a letter to shareholders posted on its website, said there was no other investor in sight and that the financing concept was fair. "The company otherwise faces immediate bankruptcy", it warned.
The group was also planning to agree bank loans of up to 95 million euros.
The 240 million euro package of measures compares with the company's market value of around 78 million euros.
Praktiker, which operates stores under the Praktiker and Max Bahr brands, got into trouble after scrapping a popular "20 percent off everything" ploy last year.
The decision, which former Chief Executive Wolfgang Werner took in a bid to improve profit margins, instead resulted in a slump in customer numbers and sent the group crashing to a yearly net loss of 554.7 million euros.
Restructuring expert Thomas Fox, known in Germany for successfully turning around the Karstadt department store chain, was brought in, but unexpectedly left in May.
De Krassny, who earlier said she represented the holders of 16 percent of Praktiker's shares at the meeting, demanded Max Bahr as collateral for her alternative business plan.
Praktiker said the holders of only 26.90 percent of its voting capital were present at the meeting. ($1 = 0.7933 euros) (Additional reporting by Joern Polz and Angelika Gruber; Writing by Victoria Bryan, Jonathan Gould and Marilyn Gerlach; Editing by David Holmes and Leslie Adler)
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