Marconi shareholders face losing all

Shares in the troubled telecoms firm Marconi are to become all but worthless this week, according to reports.

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By  Philip Fenton Published  August 18, 2002

Shareholders in the troubled telecoms firm Marconi are braced to see the value of their stock become practically worthless when a survival deal is signed later this week.

The telecoms equipment manufacturer is set to announce how it plans to restructure its crippling £4 billion (US$6.1 billion) debt.

Some UK newspapers suggest that Marconi will hand over all but 1% of the firm to creditors. The Sunday Telegraph goes as far as to suggest it will go into voluntary liquidation.

With the collapse of the dot.com bubble Marconi was left unable to pay the huge debts racked up in an ambitious international expansion programme throughout the 1990s.

The deal, to be announced within the next few days, marks the end of the road for this former champion of the new economy, until recently considered a shining example of the then prosperous telecoms industry.

Leaked details of the financial restructuring sent Marconi shares down by 30% to 2.5p (3.8 cents) on Friday.

Investors have already seen the value of their stock plummet from a high of 1,240p (1,907 cents) in September 2000.

"Negotiations are ongoing with (Marconi's) syndicate lending banks and certain bondholders in respect of the group's financial restructuring," Marconi said in a statement issued on Friday.

"Further announcements will be made in due course," it added.
UK newspaper reports suggest that creditors will write off the company’s debts in exchange for shares in the firm.

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