SAO PAULO, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Postalis Instituto de Previdência Complementar, the Brazilian pension fund for post office workers, is gauging how to offload 2.2 billion reais ($661 million) worth of bad loans after a planned sale collapsed amid management changes and feeble demand, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.
According to the sources, who requested anonymity because the plans are private, the failed sale could be revived once the fund’s new management resumes an analysis of the loan portfolio. Options include a partial sale of the loans, or the setup of a credit rights fund through which the loans could be packaged into securities and sold to investors.
On Tuesday, Postalis Chief Executive Officer André Motta told Reuters the pool of bad loans has already been written off and has “zero accounting value.” He admitted that selling shares in a credit rights fund, a structure known in Brazil as FIDCs, is an option.
Postalis, Brazil’s largest fund by number of participants, extended loans to companies for years, a type of transaction that became increasingly popular among state-controlled pension funds during the leftist Workers Party’s 13 years in power.
The fund set up several vehicles through which the loans were channeled into borrowers, some of which issued bank credit notes - known in Brazil as CCBs - that Postalis fully subscribed, the sources said.
Media representatives for Postalis said any option will comply with current rules for pension funds. They declined to elaborate further on the loans and potential actions.
The situation underscores how Postalis, which amassed billions of reais in losses this decade after pursuing risky bets, was burnt by a sudden deterioration in corporate creditworthiness and capital markets activity in Latin America’s largest economy.
Postalis, which oversees 8.77 billion reais in savings for 143,000 postal workers, has run a deficit every year since 2011. The fund’s investment bets ranged from the bad loans to holdings of Lehman Brothers Inc, as well as Argentine and Venezuelan government bonds.
The bad loan portfolio included 56 contracts and involved 32 corporate borrowers, one of the sources said. According to the first person, privately-owned infrastructure company Multiner SA was Postalis’s biggest borrower in the loan portfolio that the fund put up for sale.
Some of Postalis’ borrowers who are in arrears have pledged to repay the fund, said Motta, who became CEO of the fund in July.
As a result, “we may not sell the entire portfolio,” he said.
Last year, Postalis hired PricewaterhouseCoopers to oversee its first bad-loan sale, which attracted more than 10 distressed debt investment firms and had at least one bid, according to two of the sources.
The structure of some of the loan transactions and the quality of some guarantees used as collateral for the credits were among the factors that hampered the process, said two of the people who participated in the sale process.
“In some of the Postalis loans, the guarantees only existed on paper,” one of them said.
Multiner did not reply to an email seeking comment. PricewaterhouseCoopers declined to comment.
Rio de Janeiro-based Multiner was targeted on Sept. 5 by a police investigation into the alleged siphoning of 8 billion reais of retirement money at state-controlled funds, including Postalis. Multiner said on Tuesday that the judge overseeing the probe, known in Brazil as “Operation Greenfield,” had seized the company’s assets.
Postalis’s press office said Multiner is not the largest borrower in the portfolio, although it said the fund’s investments “in Multiner have a material value.”
$1 = 3.3272 Brazilian reais Writing and additional reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by Paul Simao