Brazil's CCR seeks $1.27 billion in share offering

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - CCR SA CCRO3.SA, Brazil's largest toll road operator, plans to raise up to 4.025 billion reais ($1.27 billion) from investors through a share offering, becoming the latest local company to return to the equity markets for fresh capital.

The plan involves the sale of as many as 221.23 million common shares in a so-called restricted-efforts offering, CCR said in a Friday securities filing.

The offer could be increased by 15 percent in the event of robust investor demand, it said.

Reuters reported last week that CCR was in talks with banks regarding an offer to finance potential acquisitions. Sources told Reuters on Thursday that about 4 billion reais could be raised, depending on market conditions.

CCR estimated the total value of the transaction based on Thursday’s closing price for the common shares, at 15.82 reais each. Existing shareholders will be given priority in the deal, the filing said.

The company expects to price the offering by Feb. 9. Proceeds will go to the company’s coffers entirely, the filing said, noting that they will be used to strengthen CCR’s balance sheet and fund purchases of operating licenses.

The deal underscores newfound confidence in Brazil among investors, reflecting government efforts to rebalance public finances and revive an economy struggling with its worst recession ever.

Brazil’s busiest pipeline of bond and equity offerings in at least six years is being fueled by optimism in the country’s ability to emerge from a two-year recession.

In the current window, which opened in mid-January and may extend for another two weeks, Brazilian companies have raised almost $7 billion.

At least two initial public offerings worth about 2.5 billion reais are slated in coming weeks. Movida Participações SA’s IPO is slated to price on Feb. 6, and that of peer Unidas SA could be finalized three days later.

Public offerings with restricted efforts differ from standard equity offerings in that a company does not have to request registration of the plan with securities industry watchdog CVM, only qualified investors can participate, and the deals cannot be marketed through road shows or the media.

CCR hired the investment banking unit of Banco Bradesco SA to manage the deal, alongside those of Grupo BTG Pactual SA, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Banco do Brasil SA, Itaú Unibanco Holding SA and Banco Santander Brasil SA.

Editing by Alonso Soto and Jason Neely