September 28, 2018 / 10:17 AM / in 18 days

Astaldi seeks protection from creditors after bridge sale delay

Sept 28 (Reuters) - Italian construction company Astaldi has applied to a court in Rome for protection from its creditors following a delay in the sale of a bridge in Turkey, the company said on Friday, sending its shares plunging to a record low.

Astaldi, which employs more than 10,500 people, had been hoping to sell the Third Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul to strengthen its liquidity position and reduce debt, which stood at 1.26 billion euros ($1.5 billion) at the end of 2017.

A binding offer for the bridge, the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, was also one of the conditions for the company’s planned capital increase of up to 300 million euros.

However, political turmoil in Turkey and a plunge in the country’s currency has led to a delay in receiving offers, Astaldi said.

As a result, the company said the targets set in its 2018-2022 strategy plan were no longer achievable.

At 0940 GMT, Astaldi shares were down 19.3 percent at a record low of 0.92 euros.

The company said it had applied for creditor protection “with reservation,” a type of arrangement in Italy that would allow the company to continue business.

$1 = 0.8612 euros Reporting by Anna Rzhevkina; Editing by Mark Potter

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