UPDATE 5-BTG Pactual partners take control from jailed founder Esteves

miércoles 2 de diciembre de 2015 19:00 GYT

(Adds comments from chairman)

By Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Tatiana Bautzer

SAO PAULO Dec 2 (Reuters) - Founding partners in Grupo BTG Pactual SA took control of the Brazilian investment bank from jailed financier André Esteves on Wednesday in an attempt to distance the firm from the most sweeping corruption investigation in the country's history.

After two rating companies downgraded the bank to junk status in as many days, BTG Pactual said Esteves, until now the public face of Latin America's largest independent investment bank, had agreed to a share swap ceding control to the other seven founding partners.

Esteves stepped down from his role as chairman and chief executive on Sunday, following his arrest on Nov. 25 in a graft scandal that has splintered President Dilma Rousseff's coalition and deepened a severe economic recession. Lower House Speaker Eduardo began on Wednesday impeachment proceedings against Rousseff.

Esteves' departure comes as the bank's new management, which includes three of the top seven partners, is rushing to sell stakeholdings, pools of loans and other assets to shore up cash levels and restore investor confidence. Chairman Persio Arida told Reuters on Wednesday that the bank will exit non-essential investments in segments other than banking.

Those negotiations include an effort to sell the bank's stake in Recovery do Brasil SA, Latin America's largest debt collector, according to three people involved in the talks. The Recovery stake could fetch as much as $450 million, depending whether it includes a platform that Recovery uses to price loans, two of the sources said.

Another source said the search for a potential buyer for BTG Pactual's 68 percent stake in parking lot company Allpark Empreendimentos Participações e Servicos SA has begun, adding that potential parties have yet to be contacted.

"The process of exiting non-core assets has begun," Arida said in a phone interview.   Continuación...