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PDVSA Said to Seek Bank Loan to Pay Off Bonds Due in 2014

Petroleos de Venezuela SA is seeking a loan to pay off $3 billion of debt that matures this year and isn’t planning additional dollar bond sales in 2014, according to a company official familiar with the matter.

PDVSA, as the state-owned oil company is known, expects to obtain a seven- to eight-year loan from an international bank and then work to refinance an additional $11.9 billion of debt due through 2017, according to the official, who asked not to be identified because he isn’t authorized to speak publicly.

The plan to limit debt sales for the rest of the year comes after the company said May 14 that it was selling $5 billion in notes due in 2024 in a private placement to state banks. Barclays Plc said the next day that it expected PDVSA’s new issuance for the year to exceed its previously forecast amount of $6 billion because of a shortage of dollars in the country and a “large concentration of payments” due in the last quarter of the year.

“It has been PDVSA’s strategy to refinance and roll over the front end,” Siobhan Morden, the head of Latin American fixed income at Jefferies Group LLC, said in an e-mailed response to questions. “After the bulky $5 billion issuance of 24s, the market will likely become saturated so a loan seems like a better option.”

The oil producer wants to reduce the amount of debt maturing each year to no more than $3 billion, the official said, adding that the loan from the international bank would be made on terms more favorable than what are available on the bond market. The country wants to keep PDVSA’s annual new issuance to between $3 billion and $5 billion, said the official.

PDVSA Refinancing

After it receives the loan to pay off bonds maturing this year, PDVSA will work to refinance debt due through 2017 to push out maturities to between 2021 and 2023, the official said.

“The good news for bondholders is there will be no more PDVSA debt issuances this year,” Russ Dallen, the head trader at Caracas Capital Markets, said in a telephone interview from New York. “The street was expecting PDVSA to issue more debt this year, but maybe now we’ll just see a sovereign issuance as we get closer to the maturity dates in October.”

Caracas-based PDVSA has created a new investor relations department and plans at least one series of presentations to investors this year, the company official said yesterday.

China and Russia have emerged as big investors in Venezuela, and PDVSA continues to maintain good relationships with a number of global investment banks, the official said, adding that Venezuela plans to maintain about $40 billion in loans with China without increasing or decreasing the amount.

Orinoco Oil

PDVSA expects to sign additional financing deals this year and next for development of projects in the Orinoco heavy-oil region, the official said, without providing further details.

Investors demand 10.05 percentage points of extra yield to own Venezuelan government bonds instead of U.S. Treasuries, the biggest premium in emerging markets tracked by JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s EMBIG index.

PDVSA notes due in 2035 rose 1.31 cents to 77.66 cents on the dollar as of 2:35 p.m. in New York, the biggest increase on a closing basis since April 29. The yields on the securities fell 0.23 percentage point to 12.84 percent.

To contact the reporters on this story: Pietro D. Pitts in Caracas at ppitts2@bloomberg.net; Corina Pons in Caracas at crpons@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Walsh at bwalsh8@bloomberg.net Dennis Fitzgerald

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