| SAO PAULO
SAO PAULO Odebrecht Óleo & Gás SA, the offshore oil drilling firm owned by Brazil's Odebrecht SA [ODBES.UL], could seek an out-of-court reorganization with creditors to speed up the restructuring of $5 billion in debts, two people familiar with the plan said on Monday.
According to the people, an out-of-court workout would help the company known as OOG bind minority creditors to a restructuring that is accepted by a relevant majority of banks, bondholders and suppliers. Filing for bankruptcy protection is not an option for OOG, the people said.
The one-year-old process, which is in advanced stages, could drag on for longer because of OOG's difficulty contacting hundreds of individual bondholders, the first person said. Sources told Reuters last month that parent Odebrecht hoped to conclude the driller's restructuring plan in March.
A workout usually sets a limit on the influence of those investors in the upcoming rounds of a company's debt restructuring plan. The people spoke under condition of anonymity, because terms of the restructuring remain private.
In a statement, OOG declined to confirm whether it is considering an out-of-court workout, noting that it "remains in constructive talks with creditors to bolster the company's short- and long-term financial positions amid a challenging oil and gas industry environment."
By opting for such a solution, OOG would aim to gain an edge in coordinating disparate groups of creditors, discussing contractual and default terms with them, and keeping all creditors engaged in a voluntary restructuring process, one of the people said.
The price on OOG's 6.625 percent dollar bond due in October 2022 BR103995655= shed 0.5 cent to 30.375 cents on the dollar on Monday. Since restructuring talks began in around April last year, price on the note have more than doubled from an all-time low of 12 cents.
In recent months, OOG and bondholders discussed putting off payments on principal and interest, as well as amortization payments on OOG's notes maturing in 2021 and 2022.
OOG raised over $3 billion from bond sales to fund the construction of offshore drilling ships that are now leased to state-controlled Petróleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4.SA).
Over the past few years, OOG has issued debt through special purpose vehicles such as Odebrecht Offshore Drilling Finance Ltd [OODF.UL], Odebrecht Drilling Norbe VIII/IX Ltd [ODBCT.UL] and Odebrecht Oil & Gas Finance Ltd [OOAG.UL].
(Editing by Daniel Flynn and Lisa Shumaker)