Greek retail group Marinopoulos wins protection from creditors

ATHENS, July 1 (Reuters) - Greek supermarket operator Marinopoulos on Friday won a temporary protection from creditors until September 21, when its petition for a resolution process will be judged, a court official said.

The latest casualty of the country’s crippling recession, the privately owned group, which employs more than 12,500 people and runs more than 800 outlets, had sought protection from creditors to allow for a restructuring of its business.

“The court decided that the group’s property will be protected from creditor foreclosures, freezing any disposals of real estate and equipment,” the court official said, declining to be named.

The court also ruled that Marinopoulos employees will be excluded from the temporary protection, allowing them to litigate should the company stop paying their salaries.

The group’s problems reflect the economic malaise in Greece, which has required three international bailouts since 2010 as it battled a debt crisis. Marinopoulos had expanded and made several acquisitions before the economic downturn.

Greek media estimated the group had about 700 million euros ($775 mln) in outstanding debts owed to 2,000 suppliers. (Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Greg Mahlich)