September 26, 2012 / 1:20 PM / 5 years ago

TEXT-Fitch:Equatorial's acquisition of Celpa advances restructuring process

(The following statement was released by the rating agency)

Sept 26 - Fitch Ratings views the announcement that Equatorial Energia S.A. (Equatorial), a holding company in the energy sector, has signed a contract to acquire 65.18% of Celpa’s voting shares for BRL1 as positive.

The transaction should contribute to moving the company out of bankruptcy protection given support by several of Celpa’s creditors and Equatorial’s track record in acquiring and promoting the turnaround of an energy distribution company, Companhia Energetica do Maranhao (rated ‘AA-(bra)'), several years ago.

As part of the announcement, Equatorial indicated it has reached conditional agreements with several creditors representing a majority of its debt, which may include debt maturity extensions, adjustments in interest payments and possibly debt forgiveness. It is still unclear if any bondholders of the USD250 million senior unsecured notes due 2016 are part of this agreement. Equatorial is expected to inject BRL350 million in new equity as part of its agreements with creditors.

Fitch will continue to monitor and analyze Celpa’s restructuring process and will define its rating levels after more complete restructuring details become available.

On Feb. 28, 2012, Fitch downgraded Celpa’s Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) to ‘D’ following the company’s announcement that it filed for bankruptcy protection in Brazil.

Fitch currently rates Celpa as follows:

--Local and Foreign Currency IDRS ‘D’;

--Long-Term National Scale Rating ) ‘D(bra)';

--USD250 million senior unsecured notes due in 2016 ‘C/RR4’.

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