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French oil services firm CGG files for bankruptcy

PARIS, June 14 French oil services firm CGG said on Wednesday it had filed for bankruptcy in France and the United States as part of financial restructuring to reduce its debt burden.

The company, in which the French state public investment bank Bpifrance Participations owns a 9 percent stake, said the restructuring would eliminate $1.95 billion in debt from its balance sheet.

"CGG will continue normal business operations during this process, and the restructuring transactions will not affect relationships with our clients, business partners, vendors or employees," Chief Executive Jean-Georges Malcor said in a statement.

"We expect that our financial restructuring can move forward quickly to strengthen our balance sheet and to position the company well for the future," he added

With debt in excess of $3 billion, the restructuring could be one of the biggest France has seen in years. It calls for unsecured debt to be converted to equity, maturities on secured debt to be extended and $500 million in new money to be raised.

The company, which specialises in geo-seismic surveys and is listed in Paris and New York, struggled to keep up with payments on its debt as the big oil groups that use its services proved reluctant to lift exploration spending despite rising oil prices. (Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Bill Rigby)

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