The Brazilian units of troubled Italian food giant Parmalat, Parmalat Brasil and Parmalat Participacoes, have been admitted to bankruptcy protection by a Brazilian court.

“This decision by the court represents an important milestone in the recovery process of these businesses – the operating company and the holding company,” Parmalat was quoted by Dow Jones News as saying. 

The operations now have 24 months to settle their debts or reach an agreement with their creditors.

The units’ Italian parent Parmalat is struggling to recover from an accounting scandal in which a massive hole was discovered in its accounts.

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