SAO PAULO, April 29 (Reuters) - Sete Brasil Participações SA will file for protection from creditors as early as Friday, two sources said on Friday, as months of tussling with the rig builder's sole client and looming debt payments weighed on the company.
Sete Brasil declined to comment.
Shareholders in Sete Brasil voted last Wednesday to allow the company to seek bankruptcy protection after efforts to secure a long-term contract with state-controlled oil producer Petróleo Brasileiro SA failed. Petrobras, as Sete Brasil's sole client is known, owns 5 percent of the rig leaser.
A source familiar with the decision told Reuters last week that partners holding more than 90 percent of Sete Brasil approved the plan, without detailing a timetable or a strategy to do so.
Any petition seeking bankruptcy protection would be filed in Rio de Janeiro, where Sete Brasil is based, said the two sources, who asked for anonymity to speak freely about the plan.
The other shareholders, which have their combined 95 percent stake in Sete Brasil in an investment vehicle known as FIP Sondas, include pension funds Previ and Petros, investment firm EIG Global Partners and banks Grupo BTG Pactual SA and Banco Bradesco SA.
There has been a fierce battle between Petrobras and Sete Brasil's shareholders, creditors and suppliers for a failed government-sponsored plan to build the world's biggest deep-water drilling fleet order. The $90 billion project began to fall apart in 2014 when Petrobras and Sete Brasil became engulfed in Brazil's worst corruption scandal.
Sete Brasil's collapse would be devastating not only for the banks, pension funds and investment firms that backed the project, but also for dozens of shipbuilders and manufacturers supplying the company. More than 800,000 local shipbuilding jobs could be destroyed, sparking about $12 billion in losses for the economy, one of the sources said on Friday.
Both Petrobras and state development bank BNDES abandoned the project as the corruption probe swelled, leaving Sete Brasil moribund. BNDES reneged on prior commitments to refinance the loans.
Petrobras Chief Executive Officer Aldemir Bendine and officials at the company's exploration and production division are at loggerheads over the Sete Brasil contract, sources recently told Reuters. The tussle forced BTG Pactual and creditors to write off part of the value of their investments and loans to Sete Brasil.
The standstill period for which 15 billion reais worth of loans to Sete Brasil were extended expires next month, the sources said on Friday.
Lenders Itaú Unibanco Holding SA, Bradesco, Banco Santander Brasil SA and state-controlled Caixa Econômica Federal and Banco do Brasil SA renewed the credit lines in February in exchange for access to 4.3 billion reais in collateral at government-backed naval fund CDFMM.
$1 = 3.4471 Brazilian reais Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Toni Reinhold