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Batista Offers USD $46 Million "to Save" OSX

11/01/2013 - 09h08

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RENATA AGOSTINI
FROM BRASILIA
RAQUEL LANDIM
FROM SÃO PAULO
WITH ADDITIONAL MATERIAL FROM PEDRO SOARES

Eike Batista has indicated to his creditors that he is willing to put another R$100 million (USD $46 million) into the company OSX, if it helps the company escape bankruptcy. If indeed the company does go bankrupt, it will mean defaulting on debts of R$1.6 billion (USD $733 million) with the public banks BNDES and Caixa.

Batista, who controls 66.7% of the company, included the latest proposal as part of a plan to save the company, which was presented to the banks.

OSX is trying to renegotiate short-term debts of R$1 billion (USD $458 million) with BNDES and Caixa, which are guaranteed by Votorantim and Santander respectively. Caixa also lent OSX another R$600 million (USD $268 million) in a more long-term deal.

An agreement with the four banks is crucial if the company is to avoid the fate of Batista's oil company OGX, which filed for bankruptcy on Thursday. There is a real sense of urgency to the negotiations. OSX defaulted with Caixa two weeks ago, and is now having to deal with cases brought by smaller lenders in the courts.

OSX must also be successful in its dealings with foreign banks and holders of the company's debt securities. The company has asked for a year to be allowed to pay the interest on its loans.

Then there is the problem of the smaller lenders. While OSX recognizes debts of R$650 million (USD $290 million), the Italo-Argentine conglomerate Techint alone is claiming R$1 billion (USD $458 million).

In a statement released on Thursday, OSX said that it is "prepared" for bankruptcy if necessary, but that it will continue its process of internal restructuring, which involved "potential business combinations."

As Folha has learned, there are three memos regarding potential partnerships in the OSX shipyard. Among the potential partners are the Spanish company Dragados and the Brazilian company Asgaard.

Translated by TOM GATEHOUSE

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