FRANKFURT (Reuters) -- German bearings maker Schaeffler needs up to 6 billion euros ($7.75 billion) in fresh financing, co-owner Georg Schaeffler said today as the company again called on the German government for help.
Schaeffler, a family-owned company, borrowed 16 billion euros ($20.37 billion) to buy control of car parts maker Continental AG , but the deal turned sour as the credit crunch left Schaeffler struggling to service its debt.
Schaeffler lacks about 5 to 6 billion euros in capital, Georg Schaeffler -- who owns the company with his mother Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler -- told a news conference.
The group was prepared to sell a stake to outside investors to repay debt, Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler reiterated, as she asked the government again to for temporary financing support.
Schaeffler will present the German government a restructuring plan for its business -- a prerequisite for receiving state aid -- "in a short while", she added.
Lower Saxony state premier Christian Wulff, whose state is home to Continental, said the plan could be submitted this week.
To back its plea, Schaeffler signed an agreement with German trade union IG Metall which aims to increase workers' influence at Schaeffler. Schaeffler and Continental employ 220,000 staff worldwide and 80,000 in Germany.
Details of labor's increased say had yet to be decided, but would resemble those at a joint stock company, Schaeffler said.
Georg Schaeffler said his company was talking to more than one interested party about taking a stake in the group. He declined to give any further details on its talks with banks.
Continental ranks No. 4 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers with estimated worldwide sales to automakers of $25.0 billion in 2007.