July 2, 2009 / 7:42 PM / in 8 years

UPDATE 1-AbitibiBowater names chief restructuring officer

* Bruce Robertson to head restructuring efforts

* Says has obtained court approval of appointment

TORONTO, July 2 (Reuters) - Bankrupt newsprint producer AbitibiBowater Inc ABWTQ.PK said on Thursday that it has appointed Bruce Robertson as its chief restructuring officer.

Robertson, who recently served as senior managing partner at Brookfield Asset Management, will work toward a negotiated settlement of claims and a comprehensive restructuring plan, the company said in a statement.

The forestry firm, headquartered in Montreal but incorporated in the United States, crumpled under an overwhelming debt-load and filed for bankruptcy protection in April this year.

AbitibiBowater has cut millions of tonnes of mill capacity in recent months as it has battled to keep pace with declining newsprint demand.

Newsprint volumes in North America have been on the decline for over five years and the pace of the decline has accelerated in recent months.

Newspapers, which account for the bulk of newsprint demand, have been hurt badly by lower advertising revenues in the recession and the growing influence of the Internet. Many newspaper publishers have themselves been forced to seek bankruptcy protection.

AbitibiBowater said it has obtained a court order in the U.S. authorizing the appointment of Robertson as chief restructuring officer.

AbitibiBowater shares were up 1 cent at 13 cents a share in over-the-counter trade in the United States. (Reporting by Euan Rocha; editing by Rob Wilson)

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