LONDON Jan 11 Troubled Switzerland-based
refiner Petroplus has hired financial advisory firm
Rothschild to advise on a potential restructuring, as distressed
investors sniff around the company's debt, a source close to the
talks said on Wednesday.
Rothschild's Paris-based team is handling the discussions
with Petroplus, the source added.
Lenders froze about $1 billion of uncommitted loans under
Petroplus' revolving credit in December, and the company started
to temporarily close three refineries, including the Petit
Couronne plant in France, which employs 550 people.
Petroplus is negotiating with lenders to restore the funds
it needs to keep its five European refineries open.
Petroplus could not immediately be reached for comment.
Distressed debt investors are buying Petroplus bonds as the
company moves towards a debt restructuring, banking sources
The company's $600 million, 6.75 percent senior notes due
2014 were offered at 45 percent of face value on Wednesday,
according to one bank's distressed-debt team.
This suggests sellers are prepared to accept a 55 percent
loss on bond investment to get rid of their exposure, which
points to losses on a potential restructuring.
Petroplus' $1.05 billion revolving credit facility was also
offered at 85 percent of face value in the secondary loan
trading market, according to one bank's loan trading desk,
although it is unclear if any trades have taken place.
(Editing by David Hulmes)