SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian creditors of conglomerate Odebrecht SA [ODBES.UL] are leading the efforts to sell the group’s commuter rail unit, Supervia Concessionaria de Transporte Ferroviario SA, as banks pressure the corruption-ensnared group to accelerate asset sales, three people with knowledge of the matter said.
Odebrecht hired Banco BTG Pactual SA (BPAC3.SA) as an adviser months ago to sell Supervia, the sources added, asking for anonymity because talks are still private.
But failure to reach an agreement with potential acquirers after talks with investors made creditors led by Itau Unibanco Holding SA (ITUB4.SA) interfere, joining the efforts to sell the company through their investment banking units.
Last month, Odebrecht’s construction unit failed to repay $144 million in bonds and said parent Odebrecht SA is still in negotiations with Bradesco and Itaú to receive new loans to make the repayment within the 30-day grace period.
Talks for the loans are still ongoing, but people with knowledge of the matter said no agreement has been reached yet. Banks say Odebrecht’s asset sales program is proceeding slower than expected. The failure to sell Supervia was seen by the banks as an example of the delayed assets sale.
Odebrecht has not received all the proceeds from the deals it announced, mostly due to legal hurdles to close deals in countries such as Peru. But creditors said this is not the case with Supervia.
The United Arab Emirates sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Development Co PJSC [MUDEV.UL] negotiated with Odebrecht through BTG for months, but the conglomerate considered their offer too low.
Since then, other two groups showed interest in Supervia: Starboard Restructuring Partners and a Brazilian group, RTM Brasil, formed by executives and backed by undisclosed buyout firms willing to finance the deal, two of the people said.
BTG Pactual, Itaú, Mubadala and Starboard did not immediately comment on the matter. Odebrecht said in an emailed statement to Reuters that its transportation unit “is in talks with another investor to sell its stake in Supervia.”
Odebrecht acquired 60 percent of Supervia in 2011. The company operates urban commuter trains in 12 cities in the state of Rio de Janeiro and transports around 750,000 people daily.
Additional reporting by Carolina Mandl in Sao Paulo, Stanley Carvalho in Abu Dhabi; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe