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BlackRock Cuts OGX Stake as Batista’s Crude Producer Exits MSCI

Aug. 19 (Bloomberg) -- BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest money manager, sold shares in Eike Batista’s OGX Petroleo & Gas Participacoes SA last week as the worst-performing crude oil producer exits a Brazilian benchmark index.

The BlackRock Brasil Gestora de Investimentos Ltd. unit sold 4.9 million OGX shares in an exchange-traded fund, or ETF, in the previous two trading days and now holds 30 million shares, according to data compiled by Bloomberg based on company filings. BlackRock hold’s an additional 38 million shares through other units, the data show. The shares sold were worth 3.3 million reais ($1.4 million) based on Aug. 14 prices.

OGX was removed from the MSCI Brazil Index Aug. 14, after a slump that has seen the company’s shares lose 85 percent this year, more than any other oil company worth at least $100 million. The company said July 1 that its only producing oilfield may be closed next year and that it doesn’t have the technological means to develop three other fields previously declared viable. Five other Batista-founded companies also tumbled as investors lost confidence in the tycoon.

Units of Banco Bradesco SA and Itau Unibanco Holding SA, among Batista’s biggest local creditors, also sold OGX stock last month. Bradesco Asset Management cut its holdings to 28.1 million shares after selling 21.4 million while Itau Unibanco sold about 5 million shares to 64.4 million shares, according to filings dated July 31.

Melissa Garville, a spokeswoman for BlackRock, declined to comment. Spokespeople for Itau and Bradesco didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Batista is raising cash and selling pieces of his energy, commodities and logistics companies after his estimated fortune plummeted from $34.5 billion in March of last year to less than $1 billion on missed production and profit targets. Last week, he agreed to hand over control of his logistics company, LLX Logistica SA, to EIG Global Energy Partners LLC.

In an opinion piece for Valor Economico newspaper last month, Batista vowed to pay back those who had lent him money.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rodrigo Orihuela in Rio de Janeiro at rorihuela@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Attwood at jattwood3@bloomberg.net

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