Spanish appliance group Fagor files for bankruptcy

MADRID Wed Nov 13, 2013 11:20am EST

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MADRID Nov 13 (Reuters) - Spain's biggest consumer appliance company Fagor said on Wednesday it had started insolvency proceedings after failing to reach a deal on debt which it needed to keep going as sales fell.

Spanish bankruptcies have risen steadily this year, after a prolonged economic downturn that sapped consumer spending and as bank lending falls.

Fagor, however, was part of the Mondragon group in the northern Basque Country region, a large cooperative seen as a flexible organisation that was riding out the crisis.

Fagor is the fifth-largest electrical appliance company in Europe. Its Irish subsidiary also started bankruptcy proceedings on Wednesday, while its French unit did the same last week. The company, which also operates in Morocco and Poland, said more subsidiaries would also file for insolvency in the coming days.

Fagor, which has total debt of 1.1 billion euros ($1.48 billion) according to Thomson Reuters data, began warning of liquidity problems as far back as 2009.

It needed 170 million euros to cover immediate liquidity needs, after filing for creditor protection in October, but Mondragon declined to provide the funds, leaving Fagor with few alternatives.

The company, which had just over 5,600 employees at the end of June, posted 2012 annual sales of 1.17 billion euros, down a third since 2007.

Companies in administration in Spain can emerge from bankruptcy if they work out a restructuring and a deal with creditors.

($1 = 0.7442 euros) (Reporting by Robert Hetz and Sarah White; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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