Caesars Entertainment's operating unit files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

The US casino and hotel corporation cited debts of $18bn

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The Independent Online

The operating unit of US casino and hotel corporation Caesars Entertainment has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection – citing debts of $18.4 billion.

Caesars said in a statement on Thursday that its casinos will continue to operate and it expects to get court approval to continue paying its suppliers.

The company is implementing a plan to cut $10 billion of debt, which has the support of its senior noteholders and will reduce the operating unit's debt to $8.6 billion.

Reuters reported that the bankruptcy protection was filed by Caesars Entertainment Operating Company Inc (CEOC) and several affiliates in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

They listed assets and liabilities of over $1 billion, according to the filing.

Caesars operates over 50 casinos and hotels, including Caesars Palace in the centre of the Las Vegas strip in Nevada.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection gives companies a window to carry out a restructuring to restore financial viability without being forced into bankruptcy by companies or individuals owed money.

Much of the debt is a legacy of the $30 billion leveraged buyout of Harrah's Entertainment that was led by Apollo Global Management and TPG Capital in 2008.

And Caesars has struggled after missing out on the casino boom in Asia. It was also reluctant to upgrade and expand in its traditional U.S. markets.

Under the plan, the operating unit will be split into a casino company and a publicly traded real estate investment trust.

Caesars Entertainment, Caesars Entertainment Resort Properties and Caesars Growth Partners, which are separate entities with independent capital structures, have not filed for bankruptcy relief, the company said in a statement.

Caesars named Randall Eisenberg, a managing director at AlixPartners, as the chief restructuring officer of CEOC.

Additional reporting by agencies