UPDATE 2-Italian court admits Astaldi to creditors protection process

(Redesigns with company declaration)

ROME, October 17 (Reuters) – A court in Rome has accepted a claim for creditor protection from ailing Italian automaker Astaldi, the company said on Wednesday, confirming what sources said.

Astaldi, affected by delays in plans to sell a bridge in Turkey, filed for legal protection against creditors in September to allow it to continue its activities while restructuring its debt.

“The Rome court has admitted the company to the creditor protection proceedings,” Astaldi said in a statement.

The court set December 16 as the deadline for Astaldi to submit a final restructuring plan linked to the deal with creditors, the statement added.

Astaldi shares have lost almost half of their value since the group announced on September 28 that it had filed for Chapter 11-like creditor protection. The share closed down 5. 6% Wednesday.

Astaldi, one of Italy’s leading entrepreneurs with more than 10,500 employees, had hoped to sell his 33.3% stake in Turkey’s Third Bosphorus Bridge to increase liquidity and reduce debt, which stood at 1, 9 billion euros ($ 2.2 billion) at the end of June.

But political unrest in Turkey and the currency’s fall resulted in delays in the sale, which had been one of the conditions for issuing a cash appeal to the tune of 300 million euros. (Reporting by Domenico Lusi and Stefano Bernabei in Rome; written by Francesca Landini and Agnieszka Flak; edited by Jan Harvey / Mark Heinrich)

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