Brazil's Batista to seek new cash from OGX bondholders -report

RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept 5 Thu Sep 5, 2013 10:09am EDT

RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Brazilian tycoon Eike Batista will ask creditors of his debt-strapped oil company OGX to become shareholders and inject new cash, in a last ditch attempt to avoid seeking bankruptcy protection, Folha de S.Paulo newspaper said on Thursday.

The plan will be presented to bondholders of OGX Petróleo e Gás Participações SA next Tuesday in New York, Folha said, citing five people involved in the negotiations.

However, an OGX spokeswoman told Reuters it was not true that the company had scheduled a meeting with bondholders for next week. She said the company is "in the process of restructuring" its debts, but gave no details.

About 40 percent of OGX's bonds are held by six large international groups such as PIMCO and BlackRock funds, while the remaining 60 percent is divided among dozens of investors.

In mid 2012, OGX's failure to meet production targets created a downward spiral among several companies of Batista's EBX Group. The sell-off has reduced the value of most of the six publicly traded companies in the group by more than 90 percent.

Batista, who has been selling OGX's stock to raise money and pay debt, will try to convince creditors to convert $3.6 billion worth of the company's bonds into stock, and to inject an additional $250 million to $500 million in the business.

The alternative would be to seek court protection that would allow OGX to halt debt payments until a restructuring plan is approved.

It is not clear how many shares Batista would give bondholders for participating in the plan. He currently holds a little over 50 percent of the company after five sales of stock in the last week.

Creditors will pressure Batista to fulfill his promise to inject $1 billion into OGX through a "put option" that requires him to buy OGX stock at 6.30 reais a share by April 30, 2014, should the company's board think it is needed. Company shares were down nearly 5 percent Thursday at 0.39 reais.

According to Folha, Batista would give up all of his OGX's shares to avoid making that cash injection.

PROGRESS IN MMX TALKS

Meanwhile, talks to transfer control of the MMX mining unit in Batista's struggling commodities empire for up to $1 billion are entering the final stretch, reported newspaper Estado de S. Paulo on Thursday, citing unnamed sources close to negotiations.

Bidders for MMX Mineração e Metalicos SA include Dutch-based trading house Trafigura, London-listed Glencore and a consortium formed by Abu Dhabi's Mubadala sovereign wealth fund, according to the newspaper.

Representatives of the companies mentioned in the Estado report could not immediately be reached for comment.

The deal is likely to mirror stake sales in energy firm MPX Energia SA and port operator LLX Logistica SA , in which the companies raised capital through new share sales without Batista's participation.

Offers range from 2.60 reais to 2.80 reais per new share of MMX, in a capital increase ranging from $500 million to $1 billion, the newspaper reported. MMX shares closed at 2.20 reais on Wednesday.