Schaeffler sells large Continental stake to reduce debt

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German ball-bearing group Schaeffler said Monday that it has sold 29.7 million shares in auto parts company Continental as part of a plan to reduce heavy debt.

Schaeffler raised 1.78 billion euros ($2.5 billion) from the sale of Continental stock at 60 euros per share, and would pay back loans of 400 and 600 million euros, a statement said.

Debt owed by the family-owned company will decrease to 4.6 billion euros from 7.4 billion, after Schaeffler borrowed heavily to try and take over Continental, which is three times bigger in terms of sales.

The amount of freely floating Continental capital has risen meanwhile from 24.9 percent to 39.7 percent, and it might be quoted again on Frankfurt's Dax index.

© 2011 AFP

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