By Jeb Blount
RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec 18 (Reuters) - OSX Brasil SA expects a deal in the coming days to delay an interest payment on bonds sold to finance an oil production ship, a move that will help the ailing Brazilian shipbuilder move ahead with a restructuring plan, a senior executive said on Wednesday.
A deal will allow OSX, controlled by tycoon Eike Batista, to put off a Dec. 20 interest payment on $500 million of 9.25 percent bonds due in 2015, Chief Financial Officer Claudio Antonio da Silva Zucker said at the sidelines of an event in Rio de Janeiro.
Reuters reported on Dec. 5 that 95 percent of the holders of the securities had agreed to delay the Dec. 20 payment, worth about $11.6 million. One of the conditions is that OSX give up control, but not ownership, of the OSX-3 ship that secured the bonds to a captain and crew under the control of creditors, sources said at the time.
OSX, which operates a shipyard north of Rio de Janeiro, last month filed for protection from creditors on liabilities of 5.34 billion reais ($2.30 billion). OSX, part of Batista's troubled Grupo EBX, filed for bankruptcy after Oleo e Gas Participações SA, formerly known as OGX Petroleo e Gas Participações, filed for bankruptcy Oct. 30.
Oleo e Gas' failure to produce as much oil as expected at its first offshore oilfield, Tubarão Azul, led to the meltdown of EBX and nearly wiped out Batista's fortune, once worth about $30 billion. That undermined his ability to finance other companies in his group with capital needs as they tried to transform from start-ups to revenue producing concerns.
OSX gets all its revenue from leasing oil production ships to Oleo e Gas Participações.
OSX shares fell 4.8 percent on Wednesday to 0.20 real, while the price on the OSX bonds fell half a cent to 86 cents on the dollar.
The bankruptcy petition left OSX's ship-leasing unit, which owns three floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) ships, out of the petition as it seeks buyers for the ships and deals with bondholders and banks that financed them.
A deal to sell the OSX-2 FPSO, which is in storage in Malaysia, could be complete in the first half of 2014, Zucker said. OSX is renegotiating its $263,000 a day lease-fee on the OSX-1 in Tubarão Azul he added.
The OSX-3 started output in Oleo e Gas Participações' Tubarão Martelo field earlier this month, and oil production from the field is sufficient to cover its lease, OSX Chief Executive Officer Euchério Rodrigues said at the event.
OSX is also in talks with construction and engineering companies to lease space at its shipyard at the Port of Açu. The port is controlled by Prumo Logística SA, formerly known as LLX Logística SA.
Control of Prumo, EBX's former port operator, was sold by Batista earlier this year to Washington-based EIG Global Energy Partners LLC.