by Pamela Barbaglia and Arno Schuetze

LONDON / FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Investment firm Eurazeo has asked candidates interested in a Europcar takeover to submit a definitive offer in September, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Volkswagen has expressed interest in the Paris-listed company but has not yet submitted a firm offer, the German manufacturer remaining cautious about the heavy economic fallout from the pandemic linked to the new coronavirus on the car rental sector , the sources said.

Europcar is working to attract other industrial players to the negotiating table despite the unfavorable context, one of the sources said.

Private equity funds like Apollo Global Management have been watching Europcar’s situation closely, but they only seem willing to invest as part of a corporate debt restructuring, the sources added.

If it does not find a buyer, Europcar should open discussions with its creditors on restructuring its debt, which would see bondholders forced into a financial effort, according to the sources.

Eurazeo and Europcar refused to comment on the subject while Volkswagen and Apollo could not be reached immediately.

Europcar has a market capitalization of 321 million euros and had a net debt of over one billion euros at the end of March.

Europcar completed in May a financing plan of 307 million euros with the hope of not meeting the same fate as its American competitor Hertz, forced to declare itself in a situation of bankruptcy.

(Pamela Barbaglia in London and Arno Schuetze in Frankfurt, with Gwénaëlle Barzic in Paris; French version Bertrand Boucey, edited by Henri-Pierre André)


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