Argentina’s IEBA Seeks Restructuring of $130 Million Bond

Inversora Electrica de Buenos Aires SA, the Argentine electricity distributor with the second most bonds outstanding, hired an adviser to restructure debt, according to its controlling shareholder.

IEBA, whose only source of cash is Mar del Plata, Argentina-based distributor EDEA SA, hired former Barclays Plc director Roberto Helbling to renegotiate terms on a $130 million 6.5 percent bullet bond due 2017, Alejandro Macfarlane, who last month bought a controlling stake in IEBA, said in an interview. IEBA also hired law firm Errecondo, Gonzalez & Funes.

Distributor EDEA, which has 500,000 clients in greater Mar del Plata, is facing a cash crunch after Argentina devalued its currency in January at a time the province of Buenos Aires agreed to freeze electricity tariffs.

“We will have to initiate talks with creditors to reach a fair agreement beneficial for both parties that allow us to keep paying,” Macfarlane said. “We have come to solve problems and we see a lot of potential in this company.”

The bonds, issued in 2007 when the company emerged from a five-year default, have fallen to 38 cents on the dollar from 44 cents at the beginning of the year. Moneda Asset Management, based in Santiago, owns 9.4 percent of IEBA’s notes, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Moneda’s Fernando Tisne didn’t immediately reply to an e-mail seeking comment.

Disvol Investment SA, controlled by Macfarlane, bought 54 percent of IEBA on Oct. 30 from Camuzzi International SA for $5.6 million, according to a regulatory filing sent by IEBA. Disvol also owns distributor Empresa de Electricidad de La Plata.

Macfarlane was chairman of Empresa Distribuidora & Comercializadora Norte, Argentina’s largest electricity distributor and the utility with the most bonds outstanding, from 2005 until 2012.

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