* Risanamento to cash in 230 mln euros from sale of Paris assets
* Deal with Chelsfield to torpedo takeover bid from U.S. fund, Zunino
* To help Risanamento pay back creditor banks
By Francesca Landini and Claudia Cristoferi
MILAN, Feb 26 (Reuters) - The board of cash-strapped real estate group Risanamento is set to give the final green light on Thursday to a sale of its Paris assets to UK-based fund Chelsfield in efforts to pay back creditors, two sources familiar with the deal said.
The deal to sell the company’s prize assets would torpedo a joint takeover offer from U.S. businessman Tom Barrack and Risanamento’s founder Luigi Zunino launched last week, sources said.
Risanamento was the biggest Italian real estate casualty of the credit crunch of 2009, when falling property prices and the end of easy bank lending made its 3 billion euro ($4.10 billion) debt hard to sustain.
“I am very confident that tomorrow Risanamento will sign a deal with Chelsfield,” one source said.
Risanamento escaped bankruptcy when a court made Italy’s biggest banks Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit take up stakes to become its largest shareholders. Zunino was left with a minority 25 percent stake held through companies under special administration.
The banks, which also include Banco Popolare, Banca Popolare di Milano and Monte Paschi di Siena , hold an overall stake of around 63 percent. Intesa is the most exposed, with a 36 percent holding. The banks are also Risanamento’s biggest creditors.
“All the major issues have been cleared up,” another source said, referring to legal and procedural issues that were still outstanding.
The disposal of the nine top-class properties located in the centre of Paris would help the company reduce the bulk of its 1.8 billion euro debt and cash in 230 million euros, according to preliminary details given for the transaction by Chelsfield.
The Paris assets lured Zunino who teamed up with U.S. businessman Tom Barrack, owner of investment fund Colony Capital, to launch a takeover offer for the whole company. Risanamento has yet to respond to the offer.
Colony Capital said it would pay 0.20 euros for each Risanamento share held by the banks and would then offer remaining shareholders 0.25 euros per share.
The cash component of the offer was worth around 167 million euros in total, below Risanamento’s current stock market value of 181 million euros according to Thomson Reuters data.
The offer also included sweeteners in the form of a pledge to take on part of Risanamento’s debt as well as the purchase of a Paris property for 195 million euros.
Colony Capital, owned and founded by U.S. investor Tom Barrack, said the deal would also involve the transfer of some assets and liabilities to the banks.
Shares in Risanamento rose last week 24 percent to reach a peak of 0.2470 euros after the offer was made public. Profit taking then pushed the share down to close at 0.2230 euros on Friday evening.
The stock closed on Wednesday at 0.2210 euros, well under the offer price.