SAO PAULO, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Brazilian investment firm Cambuhy Investimentos Ltda and Germany's E.ON SE joined to buy control of OGX Petróleo e Gás Participações SA's gas unit for 250 million reais ($115 million), helping the beleaguered oil company raise funds after seeking court protection from creditors.
Cambuhy and E.ON, Germany's biggest utility, agreed to pay 250 million reais ($115 million) for a combined 45.5 percent stake in OGX Maranhão Petróleo e Gás SA, a joint statement said on Thursday. Cambuhy has Pedro Moreira Salles, chairman of Brazil's largest private-sector lender and one of the nation's richest men, as a partner.
Cambuhy, E.ON and Brazilian energy company Eneva SA , of which E.ON is the largest stakeholder, will jointly control 63.6 percent of OGX Maranhão. OGX, which on Wednesday filed for Latin America's largest-ever corporate bankruptcy filing, will have "certain, unspecified rights entitled to minority shareholders" under the accord, the filing said.
The sale was agreed upon hours before OGX, which was founded and controlled by former billionaire Eike Batista, sought court protection, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Parent company OGX left OGX Maranhão out of the bankruptcy protection filing because the latter was in talks for a potential capital injection or a buyout.
A renowned entrepreneur who once boasted he would become the world's richest man, Batista, 56, has seen his personal fortune tumble by more than $30 billion in the last 18 months as share prices of his listed companies sank. The downward spiral forced Batista to start breaking up his Grupo EBX conglomerate that included a port operator, mining and energy interests, and an entertainment company.
Under the new structure, Eneva will have 18.2 percent of OGX Maranhão. Eneva, formerly MPX Energia SA and one of the companies Batista had in his Grupo EBX, wants to secure a steadier gas supply as demand for gas- and coal-fueled power rises in Brazil, where energy use is growing faster than the expansion pace of hydroelectric generation.
The investment in OGX Maranhão "will increase the gas supply security and support the expansion plans of the Parnaíba gas fields," E.ON said in a statement. "This will stabilize OGX Maranhão and reinforce the long-term future of Eneva's power generation in the Parnaíba complex which is a key contributor for the security of supply" in Brazil.
Some analysts said OGX's eventual sale of OGX Maranhão and other assets such as the Tubarão Martelo offshore field might reduce the amount of money that creditors could recover if Rio de Janeiro-based OGX failed to avert liquidation. OGX has about $5.1 billion in debt, of which $3.6 billion is in the hands of bondholders such as Pacific Investment Management Co, BlackRock Inc and Loomis Sayles & Co.
"What OGX needs to avoid bankruptcy is new capital," said Marcus Sequeira, a senior oil and gas analyst with Deutsche Bank Securities in São Paulo.
"As part of the restructuring process, OGX will attempt to sells its assets," the most important being the Tubarão Martelo oil field, he added.
Cambuhy will subscribe 200 million reais of new shares on OGX Maranhão, while E.ON will subscribe another 50 million reais in stock, the statement said. Eneva will have the right to buy part or all of Cambuhy's shares in OGX Maranhão during the next two years, the statement added.
Cambuhy was founded in 2011 by Moreira Salles and three partners to oversee assets of clients and some of his family members. Moreira Salles is the chairman of Itaú Unibanco Holding SA, Brazil's largest bank by market value.