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Wirecard wins short reprieve as banks scan long-term damage

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Wirecard won a short reprieve from the lenders on its 1.75 billion euros (S$2.74 billion) revolving credit facility after banks decided to assess the embattled company's long-term viability before telling it to repay the loan.

[MUNICH] Wirecard won a short reprieve from the lenders on its 1.75 billion euros (S$2.74 billion) revolving credit facility after banks decided to assess the embattled company's long-term viability before telling it to repay the loan.

Advisory firm FTI Consulting is monitoring Wirecard's compliance with the loan terms as lenders sift through documents and speak with stakeholders including Visa and Mastercard to decide how best they can secure the highest repayment, people familiar with the matter said.

A standstill agreement is only expected to last a short period before lenders make a final decision, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing the private information.

Wirecard earlier this week said that 1.9 billion euros it previously reported as cash on its balance sheet probably doesn't exist, triggering a collapse in shares and a criminal investigation into how the money went missing.

The revelations are rippling across the financial system, with about 15 lenders now grappling with the extent of potential losses.

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ABN Amro Bank, Commerzbank  and ING Groep  are among the lead banks among lenders that have given Wirecard about 1.6 billion euros in credit out of the total facility, Bloomberg has reported.

Wirecard shares have cratered and ex-Chief Executive Officer Markus Braun surrendered to police after an arrest warrant was issued. He's since posted bail and is no longer in custody.

In an indication of the company's worsening situation, Moody's Investors Service withdrew Wirecard's credit ratings altogether on Monday after cutting it six notches at the end of last week.

Bank of China, which is a lender in the group, is considering terminating the loan, Bloomberg has reported.

The situation puts enormous pressure on Interim CEO James Freis to reassure Wirecard's business partners.

It has licences with Mastercard, Visa and JCB International, through which its banking arm issues its credit cards. But time is running out quickly as he seeks to ensure clients end continue their business relationships with the German company.

One option that has come up for the banks is swapping debt for equity in the company, one of the people said. Wirecard has also said it's considering selling parts of the business as one way forward.

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