CIT debt offer by obscure fund raises questions

NEW YORK (Reuters) - An obscure hedge fund said it offered to buy $1 billion in debt from CIT Group Inc CIT.N but declined to identify its source of capital. CIT would not comment on whether it was seriously considering the offer.

Pedestrians walk past the Cit offices in New York, July 13, 2009. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The fund, logi Energy, said it was interested in $1 billion of CIT’s middle market lenders debt portfolio.

The deal would give CIT “wiggle room” as it works to avoid bankruptcy, logi said.

Asked about the source of the financing, logi’s chief investment officer, Lorenzo Ortega, declined to comment.

But Ortega told Reuters, “We have an institutional-class investor that is interested in supporting it.” The financing is contingent on CIT accepting the offer.

A spokesman for CIT declined to comment on the proposal. Analysts and energy investors said they had not previously heard of logi.

Ortega said he did not believe the debt offer was a game-changing deal for CIT.

“This is simply a hip pocket opportunity for them,” he said. “Those poor guys have a much bigger problems ... CIT has a big chunk of oil and gas debt. We only want a sliver.”

Logi is currently raising capital for a Peak Oil Value Fund to target investments based on expectations that global oil production has neared a top.

Peak Oil, a controversial theory in the energy sector, holds that oil prices will surge as output peaks and exporting nations curb shipments even as demand continues to climb.

Critics say the theory ignores the technological advances that have opened up vast new areas to exploration, such as deepwater drilling, oil sands processing and shale drilling.

On Monday, billionaire investor Carl Icahn said CIT was overpaying for new loans and he offered to underwrite a $6 billion loan to the company.

Reporting by Matt Daily; editing by John Wallace