Fate of debt-laden Hellenic Sugar Industry to be decided this week

Wednesday, 13 February 2019 12:15
UPD:12:18
Konstantinos Tsakalidis / SOOC
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By V. Vegiri

vveg@naftemporiki.gr

Greece's economy and development ministry, according to sources that spoke to "N", is expected to unveil its position over the future of the state-run, and debt-laden, Hellenic Sugar Industry (EBZ).

Nevertheless, the situation appears increasingly gloomy for the sugar producter, itself the biggest buyer of sugar beets in the country, after the Innovation Brain fund declined to submit an offer. At the same time, initial interest by Kinsgley Capital Partners was not followed up by a formal bid.

The same sources on Tuesday said Kinsgley Capital Partners representatives have promised to submit a comprehensive bid, accompanied by all necessary documentation.

Assuming the current attempt to sell-off the company again proves fruitless, it will then pass into receivership under Piraeus Bank control, its major creditor - a development previously and publicly announced by the development ministry.

The creditor bank would then oversee efforts to keep EBZ afloat.  

Initial reports point to a restructuring/downsizing plan that would permanently close all production units - including the only unit still in operation, at the Platy site of northern Greece. Another two units in Serbia would remain in operation.

The Platy plant would, ostensibly, reopen after three years and a major modernization, and under the management of the Serbian subsidiary until being sold-off to an investor.

Piraeus Bank's prospective restructuring plan would also put EBZ's other (now closed) units on the sale block, in search of would-be buyers.

An agreement on the part of EBZ's creditors would have to be submitted to a Thessaloniki first instance court for approval. According to reports, a write-off of 170 million euros the 220 million euros owed to creditors by EBZ is foreseen.

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