German billionaire secures loan to save pharmaceuticals empire
VEM would have had to declare bankruptcy after Christmas if it had not found the financing.
Frankfurt -- German pharmaceuticals billionaire Adolf Merckle has secured a bridging loan to save his holding company VEM following weeks of talks with banks, a press report said on Tuesday.
VEM would have had to declare bankruptcy after Christmas if it had not found the financing, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper said, quoting sources in a report to appear on Wednesday.
VEM must now work on a restructuring plan and negotiate a longer-term credit, the report said.
"The talks are not finished, the process is ongoing," a spokeswoman for the holding company told AFP, while declining to give a timeframe for the discussions.
Merckle has been holding negotiations with a group of 30 banks led by the Royal Bank of Scotland, Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank.
Almost unknown outside Germany, the billionaire has the world's 94th biggest fortune according to Forbes magazine, with a total net worth last March of 9.2 billion dollars (6.5 billion euros).
Merckle controls the pharmaceutical group Ratiopharm, cement company HeidelbergCement and one of Europe's biggest wholesale drug distributors, Phoenix.
He lost tens of millions of euros in failed stock market operations, in particular with shares in Volkswagen, and might now be obliged to sell large parts of his empire.