Creditors of Odebrecht SA, are divided on how to restructure 25 billion dollars of the obligations of the Brazilian conglomerate, which harms the possibilities of a preliminary agreement that concludes the greater case of bankruptcy protection in Latin America .
On the one hand, there are five local banks that have guarantees on their loans to Odebrecht. They are in advanced conversations with the company about a restructuring plan, according to people familiar with the matter.
On the other hand is Caixa Economica Federal, the state lender that has no guarantees, does not participate in the negotiations and has gone to court to demand that Odebrecht be liquidated.
Nor are American private equity firms Castlelake LP and Lone Star Funds, creditors of the Atvos de Odebrecht sugar and ethanol unit participating in the talks, which are undergoing a separate bankruptcy protection process.
Odebrecht does not need Caixa, Castlelake or Lone Star to approve a restructuring at a meeting of creditors, one of the people said.
Odebrecht, which requested judicial protection from its creditors on June 17, placed shares of its petrochemical unit Braskem SA as collateral for loans from Banco do Brasil SA, BNDES development bank, Banco Bradesco SA, Itaú Unibanco Holding SA and Banco Santander Brazil SA.
Those five companies are in talks to give Odebrecht 10 months of Braskem dividends that have been promised to the banks, the people said, asking not to be identified because the talks are private.
Braskem would then be sold, and the proceeds would be used to pay those creditors and the rest to Odebrecht.
Unsecured creditors, such as Caixa, would face an extension of debt maturities and a discount of the principal amount.
Caixa is in the fight, trying to cancel the bankruptcy protection case and questioning why Odebrecht included all the non-operating entities, such as the holding company, in the same bankruptcy proceedings and excluded the operating ones, such as Atvos or the unit of construction.
Odebrecht’s choice of which companies to include is “irregular” and “arbitrary,” Caixa said in a presentation seen by Bloomberg .
The so-called cross-compliance clauses, which trigger defaults in a company if one occurs in another, are one of the reasons why bankruptcy filing was structured that way, said one of the people.
Odebrecht will defend the agreement before the bankruptcy judge on Monday, according to the person. It’s just the beginning: Odebrecht said it is natural for creditors to challenge processes and proposals in bankruptcy protection cases. “It is just a formality or legal strategy without immediate consequences for the normal course of the process, which is just beginning,” Odebrecht said in an email.
The company is in “constructive talks with its main creditors, and is confident that its recovery plan will be approved to preserve more than 40,000 jobs.” Itaú, Caixa, Bradesco and Banco do Brasil declined to comment.
Castlelake, Lone Star and Santander did not respond to requests for comment. BNDES said in a statement sent by email that an official plan that Odebrecht presented earlier does not show that the company can recover. BNDES did not comment further.
The conglomerate has had problems recovering after the consequences of the investigation into Lava Jato corruption in Brazil . The investigation, which began in 2014, paralyzed the construction industry, as they were denied access to public projects and executives were arrested.
Odebrecht paid millions in fines in other Latin American countries and its portfolio of new projects has shrunk, which worsens the cash crisis.
Odebrecht Engenharia e Construcao, the conglomerate’s construction unit with an international debt of 3 billion dollars, is not part of the bankruptcy of the holding company. In August, the unit reached an out-of-court settlement with creditors led by Gramercy Funds Management to restructure its delinquent bonds.