Austrian jobs on line as retailer Dayli fails

VIENNA, July 4 Thu Jul 4, 2013 6:06am EDT

VIENNA, July 4 (Reuters) - Austrian drug store chain Dayli filed for court-supervised restructuring on Thursday, acknowledging its concept for neighbourhood stores had failed and putting nearly 3,500 jobs at risk.

The filing in Linz poses a fresh test of whether Austria's strong safety net that gives it the European Union's lowest jobless rate can handle a wave of corporate failures, including that of Alpine, the country's second-biggest construction group.

Investor Rudolf Haberleitner launched Dayli a year ago from the Austrian remnants of Germany's failed Schlecker group, but has now had to throw in the towel.

The company said it had 49 million euros ($63.6 million) more liabilities than assets based on break-up valuations.

It proposed paying creditors 25 percent of their claims.

Just before the filing, Haberleitner's investment vehicle transferred its stake in Dayli to a company led by retail sector veteran Martin Zieger.

"The goal is to secure the financing of the company and to secure as many jobs and neighbourhood shops as possible in Austria in cooperation with government and unions," Zieger said in a statement.

Dayli's woes have made headlines for weeks, unsettling creditors and suppliers.

Dayli's demise follows the insolvency of Alpine, the unit of Spanish group FCC that is being broken up and sold off in pieces after a bold foreign expansion campaign went awry.

($1 = 0.7709 euros) (Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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