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Troubled Engineering Group: Rescue Plan in the Works

May 31, 1996

COLOGNE, Germany (AP) _ Kloeckner-Humboldt-Deutz AG, a German cement and engineering company brought to the brink of collapse by a fraud scandal, said Friday it is close to finalizing a bailout plan.

Kloeckner said the plan has been worked out with Deutsche Bank, which owns 48 percent of the company, creditors and regional authorities.

``The parties concerned are of the view they are well on the way to putting into effect a restructuring plan,″ the company said in a statement. Details of the plan are being kept secret while negotiations continue.

Three executives at a subsidiary of Kloeckner-Humboldt-Deutz were fired earlier this week after allegations that the subsidiary had covered up 650 million marks ($420 million) in losses since 1993.

The three executives worked for KHD Humboldt Wedag, one of the world’s leading cement-makers.

Prosecutors in Cologne have begun an investigation into 15 Wedag employees against whom KHD has filed complaints.

The scandal has rekindled a debate over German industry’s strong ties with banks, which are often major shareholders and have seats on firms’ supervisory boards.

Deutsche Bank, Germany’s biggest bank, has been embarrassed repeatedly in the last two years. It led a $2 billion bailout in 1994 for German conglomerate Metallgesellschaft and was the main creditor of real estate tycoon Juergen Schneider, now jailed in Frankfurt on fraud charges.

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