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Thomson faces creditor deadline

PARIS, July 23 – Struggling French media technology group Thomson should know its future by Friday, with union officials and analysts confident a deal with creditors can be reached.

In April, the former electronics giant said its creditors had given it until mid-June to pay back its debt of 2.9 billion euros (4.12 billion dollars) and in that month, the deadline was extended to July 24.

A former linchpin of French industry, Thomson gave up its main line of household electrical goods in the face of stiff Asian competition, switching to technology for media.

But it has struggled to make any headway.

Jean-Pierre Ottavi of the CFDT union told AFP that he believed an agreement with creditors would be found, although he added that so far no news was coming through.

Without an accord, Thomson, which employs 23,000 people around the world, would have to seek bankruptcy protection while it restructured its business.

Jerome Ramel, analyst with Exane BNP Paribas, said he thought this could be avoided, with the banks looking for an agreement.

"I have the impression that that is taking shape," he said.

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