July 4, 2018 / 2:28 PM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil's BRF seeks to refinance bank debt -paper

(Adds BRF comment)

SAO PAULO, July 4 (Reuters) - BRF SA, the world’s largest poultry exporter, is in talks to refinance bank debts, opening a new front in a sweeping turnaround plan, a Brazilian newspaper reported on Wednesday.

New Chief Executive Pedro Parente has already sat down with representatives of Banco do Brasil SA, Banco Bradesco SA and Itaú Unibanco Holding SA, in a bid to lengthen the maturity of debts, newspaper Estado de S. Paulo reported, without specifying how it obtained the information.

At the end of March, BRF’s gross debt totaled 20.7 billion reais ($5.3 billion), according to its quarterly earnings. It was not clear how much debt the firm was trying to refinance, but Estado reported that nearly a quarter of BRF’s debt is due in 2018.

A representative of BRF did not comment directly on the report but told Reuters: “the priority for the company is deleveraging,” adding that the firm is “always discussing funding and debt maturity alternatives with banks.”

Parente, formerly CEO of state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, took the reins at BRF in June.

Last week, the firm announced a major restructuring plan that includes selling operations in Europe, Argentina, and Thailand to cut debt. ($1 = 3.9125 reais) (Reporting by Gram Slattery Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Matthew Lewis)

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