Odebrecht Bonds Jump to 7-Month High on Plea Bargain Speculation

  • Company may pay 7 billion reais in agreement, newspaper says
  • Plea bargain could pave the way for new government contracts

Odebrecht SA bonds surged on speculation the company is close to reaching an agreement with prosecutors that will allow it to regain access to government contracts after being caught up in the largest corruption probe in Brazil’s history.

The construction company’s $750 million of bonds with no set maturity date jumped 9.6 percent to a six-month high of 51 cents on the dollar as of 12:46 p.m. in New York after newspaper Valor Economico reported Odebrecht will pay more than 7 billion reais ($2.2 billion) in fines as part of a leniency agreement.

Brazil’s largest construction company is one of several builders implicated in a scandal that’s ensnared prominent executives and politicians. Odebrecht has been blocked from signing new contracts with the state oil producer since late 2014, when prosecutors alleged that it played a leading role in a cartel that colluded to win multi-billion dollar contracts, bribe officials and share the proceeds with politicians. Marcelo Odebrecht, then the company’s chief executive officer, was jailed in June 2015 and later sentenced to 19 years in prison for crimes including corruption and money laundering.

"Odebrecht bonds are up due to, once again, local media suggesting that Carwash investigators are in final part of the plea bargain agreement with the company’s executives," Ulisses de Oliveira, a portfolio manager at Galloway Gestora de Recursos, which doesn’t own the bonds, said in an e-mail.

A press official for Odebrecht declined to comment on the leniency agreement report or bond prices.

In March, Odebrecht said in a statement on its website that it decided on "definitive cooperation" with the Carwash probe, after negotiations started in December for a leniency agreement that would ease restrictions on its business. At the time, a company spokesman confirmed the deal included the participation of Marcelo Odebrecht.

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