Jacques Gounon, the executive chairman of Eurotunnel, said trading in the company’s shares could resume within the next 10 to 15 days following the release of its delayed accounts for 2005 and 2006.
Trading of the cross-channel operator was suspended in London and Paris last May, after the company failed to publish annual results for 2005.
But Tuesday’s publication of results for both years should lead to the eventual re-listing of the company’s shares, said Mr Gounon.
“It is not Eurotunnel’s decision to resume trading but the market authorities’,” he told the Financial Times. “But it is reasonable to expect that shares will resume trading within the next couple of weeks.”
The last time Eurotunnel published audited financial data was for 2004, when it reported a £587m net loss.
The group narrowly avoided bankruptcy in January after it secured permission from a French court to press ahead with a controversial plan to cut its £6.18bn of debt by more than half.
Under the proposed plan, debt would be reduced to £2.84bn. In return, creditors will be left in control of about 87 per cent of the new, restructured company, which will be called Groupe Eurotunnel.
But for the plan to be implemented, at least 60 per cent of its shareholders need to swap their stock for shares in the new company, where their shareholdings will in effect be diluted to 13 per cent.
Mr Gounon said he was confident of meeting the benchmark, saying that failure to complete the restructuring plan will lead to liquidation of the company.
“This is do or die,” he said. “There is no alternative to the restructuring plan. If the debt can’t be restructured the company will have to be liquidated. There is no chance it will survive.”
As a result of rescue talks, the company spent £89m in fees for lawyers and financial advisers, the company said.
The crisis at Eurotunnel has its origins in the construction of the Channel Tunnel, which cost nearly €14bn (£9.8bn) to build. The company never managed to achieve the traffic levels expected when the tunnel opened in1994 and as a result has always struggled with excessive debt levels.
The cost of its borrowings hit the 2006 results. Despite a 5 per cent increase in revenues to £568m, the company reported net loss of £143m, mainly as a result of £368m in financial charges.
One analyst said that, debt aside, the company remains a strong, with the operating margin rising from 55 per cent to 59 per cent in 2006.
However, not all industry watchers are as sanguine about the higher-yield strategy that the group is pursuing.
With the end of the minimum user charge – a subsidy set up to guarantee the company a minimum rail revenue for 12 years after opening – the company is expecting to take a £67m hit to its revenue for the 2007 financial year.
The question, another analyst said, is how will the company make up for this shortfall.
Separately, Eurotunnel also announced on Tuesday that Herve Huas, a group director and non-executive director, resigned from the company’s joint board, with immediate effect.
Mr Huas has been a vocal opponent of Mr Gounon and had sought to replace him with Jean-Louis Raymond, a former Eurotunnel chief executive, at last year’s AGM. Eurotunnel did not elaborate on the reasons for Mr Huas’ resignation.
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