* Esteves says 20-30 pct stake "normal," not 60-70 pct
* EBX debt is not a problem, banker Esteves says
* Batista's financial situation "manageable" -Esteves
RIO DE JANEIRO, March 24 Brazilian billionaire
Eike Batista needs partners to help fund the expansion of his
EBX Group, a situation that could lead him to cut his stake in
EBX companies by more than half, fellow billionaire Andre
Esteves told the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper.
Batista's ownership of as much as 60 percent to 70 percent
of EBX's oil, mining, power, port and shipbuilding companies is
not normal, Esteves, the founder and president of Brazilian
investment bank BTG Pactual Group said in an article
published by Estado on Sunday.
Normal would see Batista cutting his holding to about 20
percent to 30 percent, said Esteves, who recently signed up as
adviser and banker to Batista and EBX.
In the last year, Batista's companies have seen their share
prices plunge, cutting 53 billion reais ($26.4 billion) off the
companies' market values and bumping Batista from his spot as
Brazil's richest man, the paper said. Investors are concerned
Batista will be unable to raise funds needed to transform his
companies from cash-burning start-ups to cash-generating
operations. All are behind schedule and generate little or no
"There are various types of partner: financial, strategic,
development-banks, the entrepreneur and the capital markets,"
Esteves told Estado. "I see the excess of ownership of the EBX
Group in its projects to be an anomaly. It's natural to have
smaller stakes in projects that will pay dividends and generate
On Thursday, Batista said he was in talks to sell more of
his MPX Energia SA power-generation company to
The debt held by Batista's companies is not as big a problem
as some believe, Esteves said. He added that nearly all his
projects are not only viable, but provide essential
transportation, real estate and energy infrastructure in a
country where demand for ports and power plants, oil and iron
ore outstrips supply.
Esteves plans to better organize the construction of LLX
Logistia SA's, Port of Açu, north of Rio de Janeiro,
the iron ore mine and transportation systems of MMX Mineração e
Metalicos SA, the shipyard of OSX Brasil SA
, the power plants of MPX Energia, the oil production
of OSX Petróleo e Gas SA and the coal mining
operations of CCX Carvao de Colombia SA.
"The challenge is to better organize the execution," Esteves
said. "All are great infrastructure projects linked to natural
resources and are complex and capital intensive."
"We are going to help organize, rationalize and prioritize
the execution," he added. "Many people question the indebtedness
of the EBX group, but even with its shares very depreciated,
there is a significant positive asset value. The debt is not
that great. What exists is a demand for future investment that
needs to be calculated project by project.
Eike he added, is in no immediate danger of going bankrupt.
"He remains one of the best capitalized entrepreneurs in the
country," Esteves said. "He's young, entrepreneurial, believes
in Brazil and is going to build a lot yet. His financial
situation is easily manageable."
Esteves said he would like to see more Brazilian investment
funds and insurance companies invest in the EBX Group companies.
With Brazilian interest rates falling these companies need to
move some of their investments out of government debt and into
corporate debt and projects that will pay dividends.
EBX companies are likely to continue receiving funds from
Brazil's state-led development bank BNDES and from
state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA,
Esteves told Estado. Petrobras, as the oil company is known,
needs ports and storage facilities for its planned expansion of
offshore output making it a potential partner for LLX's port and