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Drugmaker Endo misses $38 million interest payment amid bankruptcy talks

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By Dietrich Knauth

June 30 (Reuters) - Drugmaker Endo International said on Thursday it has missed a $38 million interest payment, amid discussions with a group of unsecured bondholders that have urged the company to avoid filing for bankruptcy.

Endo, which has been weighed down by litigation over the opioid epidemic in the United States, has discussed the possibility of filing for bankruptcy protection in several recent public filings.

Other pharmaceutical companies that have filed for Chapter 11 to address opioid claims include Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, and Mallinckrodt PLC, a generic opioid manufacturer that recently emerged from bankruptcy.

Dublin, Ireland-based Endo said in a Thursday filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that the missed loan payment will not immediately impact daily operations because the company has $1.4 billion in liquidity. The missed payment triggers a 30 day window before an official default on its loan.

Endo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A group of unsecured bondholders has recently formed to lobby the company to stay out of bankruptcy. The group said on Monday it has proposed alternate restructuring options, including a cash tender offer or a debt-for-debt exchange, that would reduce Endo's interest expenses without the disruption of a Chapter 11 filing.

Endo has reported $660 million of total funded debt maturities through the end of March 2027.

State and local governments have filed more than 3,000 lawsuits against drugmakers, distributors and pharmacies alleging they helped fuel the deadly U.S. opioid epidemic. Opioids were involved in more than 80,000 overdose deaths in 2021, according to statistics produced by the White House office of drug control policy.

Endo has settled opioid lawsuits brought by several states in recent months, agreeing to pay $65 million to Florida, $26 million to West Virginia, and $25 million to Alabama. (Reporting by Dietrich Knauth, Editing by Alexia Garamfalvi and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)