The ruling in the commercial court means Eurotunnel can freeze payments on its 9.1 billion euros of debt for six months.

Eurotunnel asked the court for protection three weeks ago warning that otherwise it would be heading towards liquidation at the end of September.

The Anglo-French company and its main creditors had agreed on a restructuring plan in May, but the deal was rejected by holders of Eurotunnel bonds who said it didn't give them enough back on their investments.

Jacques Gounon, Eurotunnel's chairman and chief executive, expressed his "great satisfaction" at the decision, and said he was "convinced" the company would reach an agreement with shareholders during the next six months.

Even before the court's decision, representatives of Deutsche Bank and other senior creditors met with Eurotunnel on Wednesday for continued negotiations on a debt deal.

Much of the massive debt was run up during construction of the Channel Tunnel rail link. The costs of digging the 50km undersea rail tunnel were massively underestimated and traffic predictions proved to be optimistic.