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Stemcor and lenders appoint advisors for standstill talks

By Tessa Walsh

LONDON (Reuters) - Stemcor's banks have appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers to advise them as they assess the steel trader's proposal for a standstill on $1.2 billion of loans, people familiar with the situation said on Monday.

Stemcor's advisors Ernst and Young and Goldman Sachs are helping the company to secure the standstill agreement as lenders form a co-ordinating committee to assess Stemcor's standstill proposal, the people said.

Privately-owned Stemcor, the world's largest independent steel trading company and the fifth-largest private company in the UK, was forced to seek a standstill agreement after failing to refinance an $850 million loan.

Stemcor had no official comment.

Under a standstill agreement, lenders agree not to ask for repayment and work with the company to restructure the debt or extend its maturity.

Stemcor is asking banks to keep its loans in place until it is able to repay them in the next couple of years by accelerating a restructuring program and selling off units.

The steel trader had turnover of 5 billion pounds in 2012 and is restructuring parts of its business and cutting jobs in response to weak market conditions.

Talks are going well and the standstill is expected to be agreed shortly, the people said.

(Editing by David Cowell)

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