MILAN Feb 17 Italian holding company CIR
said on Monday it hoped to reach an agreement soon
with lender banks regarding a freeze on debt payments at its
loss-making energy unit Sorgenia.
In December Sorgenia asked for a six-month freeze on such
payments as it sought to address a lack of growth and high
CIR, controlled by the Italian De Benedetti family, said in
a statement it was talking with Sorgenia's creditor banks to
reduce the unit's debt by around 600 million euros ($822
At the end of January, Sorgenia's gross financial debt was
1.863 billion euros, with a further 304 million euros in the
form of guarantees.
CIR said in recent months banks had frozen, suspended and
revoked credit lines at Sorgenia.
"If the credit lines are not renewed... Sorgenia could have
financial autonomy of around one month," CIR said.
Sorgenia, 46 percent owned by Austrian utility Verbund
, has already presented a new business plan to creditor
banks to help start the debt restructuring process.
($1 = 0.7298 euros)
(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; editing by Steve Scherer)