January 9, 2014 / 5:07 PM / 4 years ago

S&P cuts outlook for CIR after unit suspends bank debt repayment

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MILAN, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Standard & Poor's said on Thursday it had cut its outlook on Italian holding group CIR to stable from positive because of heightened refinancing risk at its energy unit Sorgenia.

In December Sorgenia, 46 percent owned by Austrian utility Verbund, asked for a six-month freeze on its debt repayments as it seeks to address lack of growth and high indebtedness.

"Sorgenia... has suspended payments of bank debt amid intense refinancing discussions," the rating agency said in a statement.

The rating agency said this move could prompt the early redemption of a 300 million euro ($408 million) bond due 2024 which could significantly reduce CIR's financial flexibility.

S&P's confirmed its BB/B rating. ($1 = 0.7361 euros) (Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Lisa Jucca)

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