BTG Said to Get Offer From Pioneer for Barcelona Water Stake

  • Offer comes as Brazilian bank seeks to sell assets worldwide
  • Private-equity firm Pioneer made cash offer for stake in ATLL

U.K. private-equity firm Pioneer Point Partners has offered to buy out Grupo BTG Pactual SA’s stake in a Barcelona water network, as the Brazilian lender seeks to raise funds after its billionaire founder was arrested.

Pioneer has made a cash offer to buy BTG’s stake in ATLL Concesionaria de la Generalitat de Catalunya SA, which supplies water to local utilities in the region around Barcelona, Spain’s second-largest urban area, according to a letter to BTG obtained by Bloomberg News. While the letter didn’t disclose the value of the offer, BTG valued its shareholding in ATLL at about $66 million at the end of September, according to a regulatory filing last month.

Representatives for Pioneer and BTG declined to comment on whether they’re in talks for the asset.

BTG shares rose 1.5 percent to 13.95 reais at 1 p.m. in Sao Paulo after earlier gaining as much as 3.6 percent.

The offer from London-based Pioneer comes as BTG tries to shore up its finances after the Nov. 25 arrest of its former chairman and chief executive officer, Andre Esteves. Brazilian investigators suspect Esteves, who resigned from his posts last month, sought to obstruct a nationwide corruption probe involving the state-owned oil company, Petroleo Brasileiro SA. Esteves has denied the allegations through his attorneys.

BTG’s stake in ATLL is a leftover of the global expansion Esteves championed for the Sao Paulo-based bank, which saw it buy financial and infrastructure assets around the world. BTG and Pioneer are joint investors in a holding company that owns 39 percent of ATLL, with BTG the majority shareholder. Spanish infrastructure and energy group Acciona SA owns another 39 percent of ATLL, with minority investors holding the remainder.

Pioneer has requested a two-week exclusivity period to negotiate a deal for ATLL and asked BTG to refrain from selling shares in the holding company to anyone else in the interim, the letter said.

BTG’s shares and bonds have tumbled due to investor concern about the loss of its CEO, with its stock falling more than 50 percent in the last month. To buy time, it secured a 6-billion-real ($1.5 billion) credit line from Brazil’s privately backed deposit insurance fund.

As part of a broader effort to unload assets, BTG is working with Lazard Ltd. on the potential sale of Swiss private bank BSI, two people familiar with the matter have said. Other assets that may be sold include stakes in retailer Uniao de Lojas Leader SA, physical-fitness chain Bodytech Participacoes SA and distressed-asset-management firm Recovery do Brasil, BTG said in a regulatory filing this month.

The company also disposed of more than $250 million of European asset-backed securities this month, people familiar with the matter have said.

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