Friday, August 3, 2012

French court delays ruling on indebted poultry firm


QUIMPER, France | Wed Aug 1, 2012 11:23am EDT
Aug 1 (Reuters) - A French court on Wednesday put back until at least October a decision on the future ownership of debt-burdened poultry group Doux, which employs about 4,000 people in France, declining to choose either of two rescue plans submitted.
Family-owned Doux, one of the world's largest poultry exporters, went into administration at the start of June, alarming France's new Socialist government that is trying to stem a tide of factory closures as unemployment stands as its highest since 1999.
The family owners submitted a plan to maintain the company by giving Barclays bank an 80 percent stake in exchange for forgiving debt of 140 million euros ($172.42 million).
This countered a takeover offer from a consortium of French agri-business groups, led by oilseed giant Sofiproteol, to divide most of Doux's activities between them.
While extending its deliberations until Oct. 9, the commercial court in Quimper, northwest France, ordered the liquidation of Doux's loss-making fresh poultry activity and called for bids for the business to be submitted by Aug. 10.
This move appeared to favour Doux's own plan which had called for the fresh poultry activity to be sold on, while the consortium's offer involved maintaining the business.
Both plans would involve the loss of about 1,000 jobs.

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