Petrobras earnings delay clouds bond issuance in early 2015

martes 18 de noviembre de 2014 16:14 GYT

By Davide Scigliuzzo

NEW YORK, Nov 18 (IFR) - Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras is likely to put off new debt sales until closer to mid-2015, as it grapples with a money-laundering and corruption investigation that has temporarily shut it out of the capital markets, say analysts and bankers.

Petrobras, the largest bond issuer across emerging markets, has typically concentrated new debt sales in the first quarter of the year, with its most recent multi-tranche jumbo deals pricing in January and March.

However, a widening investigation into whether the company overpaid for assets and works provided by contractors and funneled excess funds to political parties has forced it to put off the release of quarterly earnings, clouding the outlook for a new bond issue in the first few months of 2015.

"Although Petrobras has time to publish its 3Q14 audited figures, we believe it is important that it does so before the end of 1Q15, or it will risk not being able to come to the market as it typically does in the early months of each year to fund its aggressive investment program," Donald McLauchlan, an analyst at UBS Wealth Management, said in a note to clients.

Many, however, believe the company is in no hurry to issue bonds and could easily afford to wait.

"Petrobras has done its issuance for this year, and there is nothing that says they have to issue in February as opposed to June," said a syndicate banker in New York.

Top Petrobras executives said in a conference call on Monday that the company will not be able to issue debt until the release of audited quarterly results, which may be delayed until the end of January.

But even assuming that auditors will sign off by then, Petrobras would be left with a window of just two weeks before those numbers go stale on February 12, said the banker.   Continuación...