Batista Fires OGX Oil Company CEO Carneiro Amid Bond Talks

OGX Petroleo e Gas Participacoes SA, the centerpiece of former billionaire Eike Batista’s commodities group, fired its chief executive officer amid talks with bondholders to keep the explorer afloat.

OGX, the worst-performing oil stock this year, nominated Paulo Narcelio Simoes Amaral to replace Luiz Carneiro as CEO, it said in a statement late yesterday. Amaral, a former Brasil Telecom chief financial officer, was hired as OGX’s CFO last month and will keep the position. OGX called a shareholders meeting for Nov. 1 to approve the appointment of Amaral and a new legal director, it said.

The management changes come as Batista, who has taken six companies public since 2006, is selling assets ranging from oilfields to ports after his net worth slumped by more than $30 billion since early 2012 in a selloff spurred by missed targets and rising debt. OGX needs to cover costs until it starts production at its next offshore oil project before the end of the year.

OGX missed a $45 million bond payment Oct. 1. and has been negotiating with holders. A default of the $3.6 billion international bonds due in 2018 and 2022 would be the region’s biggest corporate default, according to data compiled by Moody’s Investors Service.

Restructuring Consultants

The company hired Sao Paulo-based Angra Partners as a “restructuring” consultant, it said. Angra was already an adviser to EBX Group, Batista’s holding company. OGX’s other advisers include Blackstone Group LP and Lazard Ltd.

The company will hire a “specialized consultancy” to audit its results from 2008 to 2013, it said.

OGX rose the most on record yesterday amid speculation Batista will cede control of the company as part of a deal with bondholders. OGX gained 48 percent to 34 centavos in Sao Paulo, cutting its slump this year to 92 percent.

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