PARIS May 24 French water and waste treatment
company Saur's creditor banks have improved an offer to take
over the company, two sources familiar with the matter told
Reuters on Friday.
Talks to refinance the debt-burdened group could conclude
next week, the sources added.
"The banks have submitted their improved offer," one of the
sources said. "They are meeting Saur's requirements. It's
heading in the right direction, even if there are still
discussions ongoing. The talks could end next week."
Saur and the banks declined to comment.
The rival of France's Veolia Environnement and Suez
Environnement is facing pressure on its earnings due
to the economic slowdown, which has hit the waste and
environmental services sectors.
This has made it difficult to deal with its close to 2
billion euros ($2.6 billion) of debt, a portion of which needs
to be refinanced by 2014. The debt stems from a 2007 leveraged
buyout by waste treatment company Seche Environnement,
French state bank Caisse des Depots and AXA Private Equity.
The company has until the end of June to reach an agreement
with shareholders and creditors to refinance.
($1 = 0.7734 euros)
(Reporting by Matthieu Protard. Editing by Jane Merriman)