PARIS, May 24 (Reuters) - 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)