February 12, 2016 / 1:28 PM / 2 years ago

Brazil's Usiminas in talks to refinance loans - sources

SAO PAULO, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Brazilian steelmaker Usinas Siderúrgicas de Minas Gerais SA is negotiating with banks the refinancing of about 4 billion reais ($1 billion) in loans maturing in the next two years, four sources with direct knowledge of the matter said on Friday.

Usiminas, as the company is known, has contacted Itaú Unibanco Holding SA, Banco Bradesco SA, Banco Santander Brasil SA and Banco do Brasil SA to grant a standstill agreement effective immediately, said two sources, who requested anonymity since talks are preliminary.

The banks would agree if shareholders commit to injecting $1 billion into Usiminas to prevent debt metrics from deteriorating further, a third source noted. However, an ongoing dispute between controlling shareholders Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp and Techint Group has made it tougher for Usiminas to raise new capital, all the sources said.

Usiminas, Techint and Santander Brasil did not have an immediate comment. Itaú, Bradesco and Banco do Brasil did not comment. Efforts to reach Nippon Steel officials in Brazil were unsuccessful.

$1 = 3.9801 Brazilian reais Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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