(Adds Previ CEO comments on utility Neoenergia and miner Vale, context)
By Carolina Mandl
FLORIANOPOLIS, Brazil, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Brazilian infrastructure operator Invepar should focus on refinancing its substantial debt load instead of pursuing an immediate sale, the chief executive of pension fund Previ, one of Invepar’s key investors, said on Monday.
Speaking on the sidelines of a pension fund event in Florianopolis, Previ’s José Mauricio Coelho said Invepar may issue new debt or extend maturities on its current debt, instead of looking for an investor to take control of the company and inject cash. Invepar has lost 1.2 billion reais ($291 million) over the last two years.
In August, Previ, which holds 26 percent of Invepar, rejected a binding offer from sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Development Co PJSC to acquire Invepar, which owns the concession for Sao Paulo’s Guarulhos international airport among other assets.
Coelho said Previ considered the bid too low, so a better alternative now would be a debt refinancing. Invepar’s debt includes 650 million reais in debentures that Mubadala acquired late last year.
Previ is Brazil’s largest pension fund, managing retirement funds for employees of state-controlled lender Banco do Brasil SA. Unlike several of its peer pension funds, Previ, which owns stakes in hundreds of large Brazilian companies, has managed to stay profitable in recent years.
Coelho also said the fund is postponing to 2019 from this year the listing of utility Neoenergia SA, in which it holds a 38 percent stake. Neoenergia made a previous failed attempt at an initial public offering in 2017.
Neoenergia, controlled by Spain’s Iberdrola SA, should focus on capturing synergies from a merger in June last year with Elektro, a separate company controlled by Iberdrola, Coelho said.
Previ may sell a small portion of the stake it holds in iron ore miner Vale SA, as part of its efforts to raise cash to pay for benefits. Still, he said Previ is not in a rush and that it still sees some upside potential for Vale’s shares.
Vale, through holding company Litel SA, represents 19 percent of Previ’s total assets. Its shares have risen 52 percent over the last 12 months. ($1 = 4.1214 reais) (Reporting by Carolina Mandl; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Cynthia Osterman)