August 10, 2016 / 12:12 AM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 1-Dutch court puts unit of Brazil's Oi under creditor protection

(Adds formal confirmation of court protection request in
paragraphs 1-5)
    By Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Ana Mano
    SAO PAULO, Aug 9 (Reuters) - A Dutch court has accepted a
request by Brazilian phone carrier Oi SA to put a
Netherlands-based unit under protection from creditors, handing
them a victory as they seek to recoup billions of dollars in
    In a securities filing, Oi said the Amsterdam-based
commercial court accepted a request to put subsidiary Oi Brasil
Holdings Coöperatief UA under a so-called "suspension of
payment" procedure. The court also appointed an independent
trustee to represent the interests of creditors in the
subsidiary, the filing said.
    Reuters reported earlier in the day that Oi had sought the
suspension of payments and that the court had appointed lawyer
Jasper Berkenbosch of law firm JonesDay as the trustee for Oi
Brasil Holdings. 
    In recent months, several creditors including Aurelius
Capital Management LP asked the Dutch court to start bankruptcy
proceedings against the subsidiary. The court's decision is a
"huge development because it forbids Oi's management from
representing the company without the trustee's consent," a
source directly involved in the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.
    New York-based Aurelius declined to comment. Efforts to
contact officials at Amsterdam's commercial court and
Berkenbosch of Jones Day for comment were unsuccessful.
    Oi, Brazil's fourth-largest wireless carrier and the largest
fixed-line operator, filed in June for creditor protection in a
Rio de Janeiro court to restructure 65.4 billion reais ($21
billion) in debt. 
    The ruling makes it tougher for Oi to protect existing
shareholders from potential heavy dilution by bondholders during
bankruptcy proceedings in Brazil. It also gives more say to
bondholders of Oi Brasil Holdings and Portugal Telecom
International Finance Co, both Dutch-based subsidiaries of Oi,
during reorganization talks.
    Both subsidiaries issued a combined $6.33 billion in bonds.
The ruling means Oi will have to deal with two different
in-court reorganization processes in two different countries, a
setback for the company, according to investors including Paolo
    Apart from participating in the proceedings, the trustee
will investigate Oi Brasil Holdings' prior and current
management teams and enforce the company's claims against parent
Oi and other affiliates.
 ($1 = 3.1555 Brazilian reais)

 (Additional reporting by Toby Sterling in Amsterdam; Editing by
James Dalgleish, Bernard Orr)
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