Austria property giant Signa to file for insolvency


(MENAFN- AFP)

Austrian real estate giant Signa -- whose vast portfolio includes New York's iconic Chrysler building -- on Wednesday announced it would initiate insolvency proceedings, filing for court protection as it undergoes restructuring.

"Despite considerable efforts in recent weeks, the necessary liquidity for an out-of-court restructuring could not be sufficiently secured, so Signa Holding GmbH is applying for restructuring proceedings with self-administration," the company said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Signa said it would present plans for the company's restructuring by the end of the month.

Rene Benko -- one of Austria's richest men -- founded Signa in 2000 and has grown it into a conglomerate with interests from real estate to media.

In its press release on Wednesday, Signa said its retail investments "did not bring the expected success" with the sector under "severe economic pressure" in Europe, while also citing a "negative impact on business development in the real estate sector in recent months".

The company said it would initiate insolvency proceedings at a Vienna court on Wednesday.

"The aim is the orderly continuation of operational business operations within the framework of self-administration and the sustainable restructuring of the company," it added.

The restructuring proceedings fall under insolvency proceedings in Austria.

Several Signa projects, including the construction of a landmark high-rise in Germany, have ground to a halt, as the construction sector is hit by higher borrowing costs and surging material prices.

With offices in Austria, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and Switzerland, Signa has holdings worth 27 billion euros ($29 billion) and projects worth 25 billion euros in development, according to its website.

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