* Vivarte's lenders fail to agree loan covenant holiday
* Court appoints mandataire to negotiate with lenders
* French banks sell Vivarte's loans
By Claire Ruckin
LONDON, Jan 29 Lenders to struggling French
retailer Vivarte are close to appointing a
restructuring adviser after rejecting Vivarte's request to
ignore a breach of its loan covenants, banking sources said on
Private equity firm Charterhouse, bought Vivarte
in 2007, backed by 3.43 billion euros ($4.68 billion) of
leveraged loans, but has struggled to manage its debt in an
unfavourable economic and consumer environment in France
Vivarte asked lenders to suspend its covenant tests in a
'covenant holiday' in December to buy time to implement plans
that would improve its business trading performance.
French courts appointed a mandataire ad hoc to mediate talks
between Vivarte and its lenders after Vivarte failed to get
agreement from two-thirds of its lenders to the request by a
deadline of January 22, the sources said.
Some dissenting lenders are seeking to appoint a separate
restructuring adviser shortly and several restructuring
companies are pitching for the business, the sources said.
"A restructuring adviser will facilitate a proper
negotiation and process between lenders and the company. There
needs to be a deal which works," one of the sources said.
Charterhouse declined to comment. Vivarte was not
immediately available to comment.
Some lenders have sold Vivarte's loans in Europe's secondary
loan market to avoid potential losses.
BNP sold most of a 30 million euro block of loans in the
company to a distressed investor last Friday, the sources said.
Societe Generale is also expected to sell some of Vivarte's
loans, the sources said.
Last year, Natixis and Credit Agricole sold some of their
exposure to Vivarte [ID: nRLP33673a].
Vivarte's unextended term loans were quoted at 79.8 percent
of face value on Wednesday, down from 85.6 on January 1,
according to Thomson Reuters LPC data.
An extended term loan was quoted at 77.9 on Wednesday,
nearly five points lower than 83 on January 1, the data shows.
($1 = 0.7329 euros)
(Additonal reporting by Sandrine Bradley; Editing by Tessa