CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Brazil's Odebrecht unit hires advisers for debt plan, sources say

miércoles 4 de noviembre de 2015 15:46 GYT

(Corrects paragraph 3 to say that capital injection is yet to be determined, not 836 million reais)

By Tatiana Bautzer

SAO PAULO Nov 4 (Reuters) - Odebrecht Agroindustrial SA, the sugar and ethanol unit of Brazilian conglomerate Grupo Odebrecht SA, has hired Rothschild and Virtus BR Partners to advise on refinancing about 9 billion reais ($2.4 billion) in bank loans, two sources with direct knowledge of the plans said.

Rothschild and Virtus, a São Paulo-based advisory shop specializing in distressed companies, have already contacted all banks involved in the process and obtained a standstill on payments, said one of the sources, who requested anonymity since the talks remains private.

The refinancing, which would stretch out maturities on outstanding loans, depends on Grupo Odebrecht's plan to pump an undetermined amount of capital into the unit, Odebrecht Agroindustrial told Reuters in a statement. The company obtained an injection of 836 million reais last year.

Odebrecht Agroindustrial, Brazil's third-largest sugarcane milling group, declined to comment on the hiring of financial advisors. Rothschild and Virtus also declined to comment.

The plan comes as parent Grupo Odebrecht, Latin America's biggest engineering conglomerate, grapples with accusations by prosecutors that it and more than a dozen peers paid bribes to members of Brazil's ruling coalition in exchange for contracts with oil producer Petróleo Brasileiro SA and other state-owned companies.

The investigation has curbed the ability of Odebrecht and peers to refinance domestic and foreign debts during Brazil's worst recession in a quarter-century, a currency slump and the highest domestic borrowing costs in nine years.

As part of the probe, Grupo Odebrecht Chief Executive Officer Marcelo Bahia Odebrecht was charged with corruption, money laundering and criminal conspiracy and is now considered a defendant.   Continuación...