Petrobras' platform hull builder Ecovix may delay delivery

RIO DE JANEIRO, July 27 (Reuters) - Ecovix, a unit of the Engevix group, said it may have to delay delivery of four hulls for oil and gas production platforms intended for Brazil’s state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA due to troubles securing funds from state lender Banco do Brasil .

The shipbuilder, which is entangled in the massive Operation Car Wash corruption investigation and as a result has struggled to secure fresh financing, won a contract to build eight hulls for Petrobras, as the company is known, by 2018. Four have already been delivered.

To meet the delivery deadlines for the other four hulls intended to be deployed in Brazil’s subsalt discoveries, Gabriel Freire, the shipbuilder’s interim director of legal affairs, said Ecovix is in talks with Petrobras and lenders to try to resolve its problems securing fresh credit from Banco do Brazil, Brazil’s biggest state-owned bank.

Ecovix has debts of 140 million reais with Banco do Brazil.

“As long as the impasse with Banco do Brasil remains, we will not make progress” with the contract with Petrobras, Freire said, who is partner at Brasil Plural, which is responsible for restructuring Ecovix debt.

“We are still trying to meet the contractual goals but there may be delays,” he said.

In addition to the hulls for platforms P-70, P-71, P-72 and P-73, Ecovix has contracts to build three drilling rigs for Sete Brasil, which is in court supervised debt restructuring.

“We are working with all the creditors to negotiate a debt renegotiation plan and for now we have no plan to shift into something more radical such as bankruptcy protection,” Freire said.

Petrobras did not respond immediately to requests for comment. Banco do Brasil declined to comment on the subject. (Writing by Reese Ewing; Editing by Bernard Orr)