A Delphi lawyer has said the company intends to request more time to develop a bankruptcy reorganisation plan, although he said the company still expects to exit bankruptcy by the middle of 2007.

The attorney, Jack Butler, told the Associated Press (AP) that the parts company is making "robust" progress in its talks with its biggest customer, Detroit-based General Motors and with its labour unions and investors on a deal that could form the basis of a reorganisation plan.

But he said Delphi would file a request with the US Bankruptcy Court on 22 December to extend the deadline for developing a Chapter 11 plan.

Butler spoke to the news agency after a private  meeting with US Bankruptcy judge Robert Drain on the progress of the company's restructuring negotiations and reportedly declined to say why Delphi needed more time to develop its plan.

Drain asked Delphi lawyers and other parties to the restructuring talks to update him on 5 January on the progress of the negotiations, lawyers told AP.

The news agency noted that Delphi currently faces a 1 February deadline to submit its Chapter 11 plan to the court while Butler said the company has received two extensions on that deadline in the past, both for six months each. He declined to tell the Associated Press how much of an extension Delphi would request in its 22 December filing.

The request for more time won't affect the company's prior target to emerge from bankruptcy in the first half of 2007, Butler reportedly said.

He called that timeframe "desirable, feasible, and most likely", according to the AP report.

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