L&H refiles For Belgian bankruptcy protection

Belgian speech-recognition technology vendor Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products NV (L&H) on Wednesday confirmed it has filed a second request for bankruptcy protection under Belgian law.

The court in Ieper, Belgium denied an earlier bid for concordat – the Belgian equivalent of U.S. Chapter 11 – on Dec. 8. The court found that L&H had not presented sufficient details on how it would proceed after winning protection from creditors.

Included in the new filing are updated financial reports, based on an internal audit, a spokesman for L&H said.

The request was filed Wednesday morning at the same court that threw out the previous request. L&H chose to file at the same court because it believes it will act swifter and protection is in effect from the moment of filing, the spokesman said.

The court will consider the new filing for concordat on Jan. 3, Belgian media reported.

L&H already operates under Chapter 11 of the U.S. bankruptcy law. Earlier this month a Belgian judge appointed three officials to guard the company’s assets, a measure requested by a number of Belgian L&H shareholders.

The beleaguered Belgian company is under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for alleged improper business practices in relation to Asian subsidiaries and says US$100 million is missing from the coffers of its South Korean unit.

Lernout & Hauspie, with dual headquarters in Ieper, Belgium and Burlington, Mass., can be reached at http://www.lhsl.com/.

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