Nexen Seeks to Amend $4 Billion of Bonds, Add Cnooc Guarantee

Nexen Inc. is asking holders of almost $4 billion of bonds to amend the terms of the debt, allowing the Canadian energy company to remove some covenants and add Cnooc Ltd. as a guarantor.

Nexen, which was bought by Cnooc for $15.1 billion, is seeking the consent from investors in eight securities worth $3.93 billion, according to a statement from the company. The borrower wants to delete or amend certain restrictive covenants, add a guarantee from Cnooc and include some terms relating to the Beijing-based company, it said in the statement, without elaborating on the nature of the covenants.

Cnooc’s takeover of Nexen, the biggest overseas purchase by a Chinese company, got Canadian government approval in December when the state also announced that it would prohibit future state-owned acquisitions in the oil sands barring “exceptional circumstances.” China’s biggest offshore oil and natural gas producer is controlled by the Chinese government.

Nexen bondholders that agree to the changes by 5 p.m. in New York on March 18 will receive $1 for every $1,000 of principal, according to the statement. The final deadline for consent is 5 p.m. on March 20.

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