Oceanografia SA, the Mexican oil services provider taken over by the government after fraud accusations, is drawing interest from potential bidders.
The Aleman family, which owns airline Interjet, is one of as many as six investment groups that have studied a purchase of the company, according to Thomas Heather, the lawyer working for the Finance Ministry to reach an accord with Oceanografia’s creditors. Mexican transportation company Grupo TMM SAB may also bid, according to a different person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the information is private.
Miguel Aleman Velasco, 82, the chairman of ABC Aerolineas SA’s Interjet and the son of a former Mexican president, didn’t reply to requests for comment. Interjet Executive President Miguel Aleman Magnani, 48, also didn’t reply. TMM declined to comment, according to outside media relations official Fernando Martinez.
Oceanografia is being managed by a division of the Finance Ministry after the government seized the Ciudad Del Carmen, Mexico-based company in February amid allegations from Citigroup Inc. that it defrauded the bank of about $400 million. Prior to the takeover, Oceanografia had 69 ships that aided state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos in offshore oil production, including drilling rigs and tugboats, and employed more than 11,000 people.
Heather, a partner at law firm Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, SC, said Oceanografia creditors are being consulted and no deal has been finalized. Oceanografia defaulted on $335 million of bonds in February after the expiration of a 30-day grace period on a $19 million interest payment due Jan. 15. The debt dropped to a record low 13.16 cents on the dollar yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“We’re not going to do anything behind the backs of the creditors,” he said.
While both Aleman Velasco and Aleman Magnani are board members at TMM, which competes with Oceanografia for some oil-related services, their talks are independent from TMM, the person familiar said.
Amado Yanez, Oceanografia’s chief executive officer, was arrested May 29 and posted bail June 3. Yanez didn’t respond to a telephone message seeking comment about the potential sale of the company.