SAO PAULO, May 2 (Reuters) - Brazilian phone company Oi SA said on Tuesday that Orascom TMT Holdings SAE, controlled by Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, and a group of bondholder have given the carrier until June 1 to put together a restructuring plan to help it exit bankruptcy protection.
This is the fourth extension granted Oi by Orascom, which offered in December an exchange of debt for shares and a capital injection of as much as $1.25 billion in the phone company.
Oi filed for bankruptcy protection in June last year under the burden of debts totaling 65 billion reais ($20.6 billion).
The reorganization process has been marked by disputes between creditors and shareholders over the fate of Brazil’s No. 4 wireless carrier. The Brazilian government has threatened to intervene should Oi stakeholders fail to reach an agreement.
The Orascom-bondholder group has committed to underwriting the entire capital injection if no other investors step forward. The reorganization plan was due to expire on Monday but the ad hoc group of bondholders allied to Sawiris said it was revising the plan.
“A number of recent developments have led to the need to revise the plan presented by our group,” said Otavio Guazzelli, of Moelis & Company, financial advisor to the group.
“We continue to work with other creditors and stakeholders and expect to submit a new plan in the next few weeks,” he said.
One development has been a government plan to allow telecom operators to exchange debt with the state for investments in the public sector. According to regulator Anatel, Oi owes the government close to 15 billion reais in fines.
$1 = 3.1505 reais Reporting by Alberto Alerigi; Writing by Anthony Boadle