CARACAS, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Venezuela’s PDVSA may seek to refinance bonds that mature in the next two years, the state-run oil company’s president said in an interview published on Friday.
PDVSA faces around $5.2 billion in bond maturities and interest in 2016, a figure similar to this last quarter’s payments, amid low oil prices and severe recession at home.
“A company that has met its obligations ... is in a position to talk with the main bondholders, who we have identified, to suggest a change in the profile of the short-term maturities,” Eulogio del Pino told local newspaper El Mundo.
Del Pino added the company is mulling a proposal to extend the payment for bonds that mature in 2016 and 2017 to 2018 and 2019, when the company has a lighter payment load, the newspaper added.
This, he said, would give better value for investors too because it would help PDVSA’s growth and performance.
However, del Pino, who is also Venezuela’s oil minister, stressed that upcoming debt payments do not hinge on negotiations, adding the company and the OPEC country’s government are drawing up a strategy to meet obligations.
PDVSA officials have in previous years discussed refinancing the company’s debt to ease heavy payment burdens, but those plans did not materialize.
Such an operation would likely require issuing new bonds and swapping them for the ones that are coming due. This is in part because the company’s high yields make it costly to issue new debt.
PDVSA also intends to seek more financing from joint venture partners, given the high cost of tapping international markets, Del Pino added.
“All our partners in joint ventures must have financing, not only their required portion but also that which belongs to PDVSA,” he said.
PDVSA holds at least 60 percent stakes in joint ventures with energy majors including Chevron, Repsol, Eni, Rosneft, Total, ONGC , Statoil, and China National Petroleum Co (CNPC). (Reporting by Corina Pons; Writing by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Frances Kerry)