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German retail group files for insolvency

GERMAN retail group Arcandor AG threw in the towel yesterday, filing for insolvency after the Berlin government rejected its request for emergency state aid.

Arcandor said the court filing covered its Karstadt department stores, Primondo GmbH mail-order and Quelle catalogue businesses but excluded Thomas Cook Plc, Europe's second-biggest travel group, in which it holds a majority stake.

Arcandor shares were suspended, down 21.7 percent, before the news.

Citing a government source, Reuters had reported earlier that Arcandor told the government it would file for insolvency and did not plan a final appeal for state aid after its urgent requests for an emergency loan were batted back by Berlin.

Arcandor Chief Executive Karl-Gerhard Eick, reached by Reuters on his mobile phone, declined to comment.

The German government on Monday rejected Arcandor's requests to tap state funds and gave the company one chance to submit a new application.

The government had urged Arcandor's owners, banks and landlords to step up their own contribution to save the firm.

The retailer needed government backing to renew credit lines worth 710 million euros (US$985 million) by last Friday.


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