Batista Said Seeking $550 Million for Stake in UtilityCristiane Lucchesi
Eike Batista is seeking 1.2 billion reais ($550 million) for his stake in Brazilian power producer Eneva SA as the former billionaire tries to raise cash to pay creditors, said two people with direct knowledge of the talks.
Marubeni Corp., IFM Australian Infrastructure Fund and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board are among prospective buyers of the 24 percent holding in the utility formerly known as MPX Energia, the people said, asking not to be named because talks are private. Patria Investimentos, a Brazilian firm owned 40 percent by Blackstone Group LP, withdrew from the negotiations because of the price being asked, the people said.
Batista is selling assets ranging from utilities to oilfields and ports after his net worth slumped by more than $30 billion since early 2012. OGX Petroleo e Gas Participacoes SA, once the centerpiece of Batista’s business empire, yesterday fired its chief executive officer as it holds talks with bondholders to keep the oil explorer afloat.
Batista founded Eneva and now jointly controls it with Dusseldorf-based EON SE, which increased its stake through a private placement to 38 percent on July 4. That made EON the largest stakeholder as Batista stepped down as chairman.
Eneva’s stock, down 57 percent this year, was used as collateral for loans from creditors including Banco Itau BBA SA, the people said. The asking price of 1.2 billion reais represents a 50 percent premium over market value because the buyer would become the second biggest holder and a joint controller, the people said.
Linda Sims, a spokeswoman from Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, declined to comment “on any rumor or speculation in the marketplace regarding possible investment activities on our part.”
Eneva, Batista’s holding company EBX Group Co., Patria and Itau all declined to comment through officials who asked not to be identified citing company policy. Marubeni and IFM didn’t immediately reply to e-mails seeking comment.
Batista, who took six companies public since 2006, has seen most of his fortune disappear since early 2012 in a selloff spurred by missed targets and rising debt.
Grupo BTG Pactual, the investment bank run by billionaire Andre Esteves, acquired 28.2 million Eneva shares for $78.7 million through a private placement on July 4, MPX said Sept. 6.
BTG is advising Batista in the share sale, three people familiar with the arrangement said. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is advising EON in helping Batista to sell his Eneva stake, two of the people said.
BTG declined to comment through an official who isn’t an authorized spokesman. Michael DuVally, a spokesman for New York-based Goldman Sachs, declined to comment. Josef Nelles, an EON spokesman, declined to comment in an e-mailed response.
OGX, the worst-performing oil stock this year, nominated Paulo Narcelio Simoes Amaral, hired last month as chief financial officer, to replace Luiz Carneiro as CEO, it said in a statement late yesterday. OGX is considering filing for bankruptcy protection late this month or early next, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.
The oil producer missed a $45 million Oct. 1 bond payment and has been negotiating with bondholders. A default of the $3.6 billion international bonds due in 2018 and 2022 would be Latin America’s biggest corporate default, according to data compiled by Moody’s Investors Service.
The company hired Sao Paulo-based Angra Partners as a “restructuring” consultant, it said. Angra was already an adviser to EBX Group. 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.