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France's Orpea defends strategy after two investors oppose debt plan

FILE PHOTO: Logo of French care homes company Orpea in Reze

PARIS (Reuters) - France's Orpea on Thursday defended its strategy and financial communication after two minority shareholders opposed to its planned debt restructuring plan called for a shareholders meeting at the care homes group.

Family-owned Mat Immo Beaune and investment group Nextstone in a letter sent to the company on Tuesday and reviewed by Reuters requested the shareholders' meeting, warning investors faced seeing the value of their holdings destroyed.

Orpea said in June an independent audit had found evidence of financial wrongdoing, and in October it warned of asset impairments and said it had requested talks with creditors.

The first meeting with Orpea's unsecured debt holders will be held on Nov. 15, when the company will also present its transformation plan.

Mat Immo Beaune and Nextstone had said in October a plan to convert 4.3 billion euros ($4.28 billion) worth of debt into equity was premature and could lead to Orpea falling in the hands of speculative foreign funds.

Orpea said in a statement on Thursday it had "put all the necessary resources" into completing the operations required by the conciliation protocol dated June 2022.

It said it had actively conducted discussions with real estate investors on asset disposals but "they have not, for the most part, been successful due to the deterioration of the macro-economic context and the group's particular situation".

Orpea also said it had "always disclosed the sensitive information it holds and reaffirms that it acts solely in the corporate interest of the firm and its stakeholders".

($1 = 1.0056 euros)

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; editing by Barbara Lewis)