SAO PAULO, March 20 (Reuters) - Standard Chartered Plc wants to pull out of a group of lenders to ailing Brazilian oil rig producer Sete Brasil Participações, which is grappling with a cash crunch after fallout from a corruption scandal involving its main client, Folha de S. Paulo newspaper reported on Friday.
The British lender unveiled its plans in a letter to Fundo Garantidor da Construção Naval, a fund run by state-controlled lender Caixa Econômica Federal that provides other lenders with a cushion against a potential default among shipbuilders, Folha said, without citing its sources.
Folha reported that Standard Chartered asked the fund, known as FGCN, to trigger loan guarantees so it can recover its portion of the loan and exit the syndicate. Standard Chartered participated in a club deal with Japanese, Canadian, U.S. and Brazilian lenders that extended $1.25 billion in credit to Sete.
The Folha report did not give a reason for Standard Chartered’s move. Sete Brasil, Caixa’s FGCN and London-based Standard Chartered did not have an immediate comment.
Sete Brasil has pledged to spend over $25 billion by the end of the decade to build as many as 29 deep-water drilling platforms that would be leased to state-controlled oil producer Petróleo Brasileiro SA. Petrobras is engulfed in a corruption scandal involving key contractors, which has paralyzed rig and equipment purchases.
Sete Brasil, also partly owned by Petrobras and banks including Grupo BTG Pactual SA and Banco Santander Brasil SA, is reeling from cash flow problems stemming from payment delays from Petrobras and rising borrowing costs.
The company faces 11 billion reais in debt repayments before the end of the second quarter and creditors are reluctant to refinance the company’s debt.
Reuters reported in January that state lenders BNDES and Banco do Brasil SA were in talks to disburse over 4 billion reais in credit to Sete Brasil. (Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Additional reporting by Priscila Jordão in São Paulo; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)