Struggling Alter TV granted debt protection

Debt-burdened Alter TV has earned a month-long reprieve from its creditors after a first instance court decided on Thursday to give the station a chance to come to an arrangement with the firms and employees it owes money to.

The court accepted Alter?s request for protection under Article 99 of the bankruptcy law but it said the station will have to reach by a settlement September 12 with all its creditors and produce a economically viable business plan.

Alter is estimated to owe some 500 million euros although the company says the debt is closer to 300 million. The court said that the main reason it is giving the station a chance to settle its debts is to avoid its employees, who are owned some 2.5 million euros, being left jobless.

Alter?s financial problems have had a knock-on effect in the advertising sector. The Leo Burnett agency, which bought advertising airtime from Alter to sell to its clients, has also filed for protection under Article 99. It is taking legal action against former managing director Petros Venetis