June 23, 2013 / 4:46 PM / 5 years ago

Brazil Batista tries to avoid bankruptcy of OSX unit -paper

RIO DE JANEIRO, June 23 (Reuters) - Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista is struggling to avoid bankruptcy of its shipyard and ship leasing company OSX Brasil after it defaulted on some 500 million reais ($222 million) in debt owed to Spanish infrastructure group Acciona, Folha de S.Paulo daily reported on Sunday.

OSX Brazil, which recently fired 300 employees to cut costs, is now under pressure from banking creditors to pay off or renegotiate some 2 billion reais in short-term debt, the newspaper reported without revealing its source.

OSX remains in negotiations over its debt with Acciona , which does not rule out seeking bankruptcy of the ship leasing company - a move that could spill over into Batista’s other companies, Folha said.

In Madrid, a spokeswoman for Acciona declined to comment on the story.

OSX also did not immediately reply to an email seeking confirmation of the report. According to Folha, however, the company said it would not comment due to a confidentiality agreement with Acciona.

OSX shares have lost 85 percent of their value since the beginning of the year as a series of missed targets and project delays eroded investors’ confidence in Batista’s ability to deliver on his promises.

Batista became Brazil’s richest man in recent years after raising billions of dollars amid booming demand for commodity-related investments in the country, but lost his standing after the selloff helped slash more than $20 billion from his fortune in the past year.

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