April 2, 2016 / 5:07 PM / 4 years ago

Brazil's Odebrecht hopes to renegotiate $9.83 billion in debt: paper

A sign of the Odebrecht SA construction conglomerate is pictured in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, February 26, 2016. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Odebrecht SA, Latin America’s largest engineering company, hopes to renegotiate as much as 35 billion reais ($9.83 billion) in debt with Brazilian banks in order to get through a financial crisis sparked by its involvement in the country’s biggest-ever graft probe, according to the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper.

The company, whose chief executive and grandson of its founder received a 19-year sentence from the court handling the probe last month, seeks an “ambitious” agreement with the banks to restructure its debts and free up liquidity, the paper said Saturday, without citing sources for its information.

Odebrecht is the biggest of several builders whose executives have been convicted for paying kickbacks to politicians and executives of Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4.SA), Brazil’s state-run oil company, in exchange for contracts.

The company has said it plans to cooperate with prosecutors in exchange for leniency in still-pending graft charges and financial penalties that could exacerbate its financial problems. Odebrecht has also sought recently to sell as much as 12 billion reais worth of assets to raise capital.

Press representatives for Odebrecht in São Paulo did not return emails or calls seeking request for comment.

Reporting by Paulo Prada; Editing by James Dalgleish

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