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UPDATE 1-Brazil's Batista reaches out to BTG Pactual as woes deepen
* Remuneration will be based on EBX's performance
* Batista's net worth dropped $19.4 bln last year
* Accord joins two Brazilian renowned businessmen
By Guillermo Parra-Bernal
SAO PAULO, March 6 (Reuters) - Billionaire Eike Batista, who only a few months ago was Brazil's richest man, has reached out to financier André Esteves' investment bank for financial advisory and credit after plunging market confidence and project delays drove his fortune down almost $20 billion over the past year.
Under terms of a non-exclusive partnership unveiled on Wednesday, Esteves' BTG Pactual Group will extend credit lines, plan long-term investments and offer financial advisory to Batista's Grupo EBX.
A strategic and financial committee led by both Batista and Esteves, also a billionaire, will meet on a weekly basis to analyze EBX's situation. Remuneration for BTG Pactual will depend on how the mining, logistics and energy companies that comprise EBX perform.
"This will foster full alignment of interests, including with minority shareholders" of EBX-controlled companies, Batista said in a joint statement. "This partnership is above all one for the success of Brazil."
Faced with disappointing results and delays in some flagship projects, Batista has unsuccessfully bet on unorthodox management methods like a widespread management shuffle to regain investor confidence. The move signals he is ready to change tack to preserve cash and avert a further eroding of market confidence in his companies.
Last year, Batista was ranked by Forbes Magazine as the world's seventh richest man, with a net worth of $30 billion. But a series of setbacks including the discovery of empty oil wells at his OGX Petróleo e Gas Participações SA, delays at the construction of a port in southeast Brazil and an economic downturn in the country cut his net worth by $19.4 billion.
This month, Batista was ranked the 100th richest man by the same magazine, with an estimated $10.6 billion fortune. Among his holdings, shares of OGX plunged 84 percent in the past year and those of miner MMX Mineração e Metálicos SA plummeted 69 percent in the same period.
On the other hand, the association with Batista's Grupo EBX allows Esteves and BTG Pactual to move further into mining, logistics, energy and natural resources after venturing over the past three years into projects mostly related to Brazil's buoyant infrastructure and consumer goods sectors.
BTG Pactual and Esteves have become symbols of Brazil's growing economic might, competing head to head with global investment banks in a country with bustling capital markets and a promising long-term growth outlook.
Since it was formed in 2009, BTG has been in a deal-making frenzy in Brazil and abroad as Esteves, the bank's CEO and majority shareholder, strives to turn the firm into the largest investment bank in emerging markets by the end of the decade.
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