UPDATE 3-Batista speeds up dismantling of EBX as cash burn grows

Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:59pm EDT
 
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* MMX expected to have new controlling shareholder

* Cash burn at OGX, MMX, LLX worries investors

* Batista ceded control of two of six EBX units; MMX next (Adds details of companies EBX divested, those likely to be sold, updates prices)

By Jeb Blount and Guillermo Parra-Bernal

RIO DE JANEIRO/SAO PAULO, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Debt-ridden Brazilian tycoon Eike Batista is accelerating the breakup of his tottering energy, port and mining empire, ceding control to new investors as some of the companies he founded scramble for fresh capital.

With cash holdings plunging and Batista's own fortune largely earmarked to guarantee Grupo EBX's estimated $11 billion in debt, the companies in his group face the choice of trimming capital spending or reducing their size to stay afloat.

On Thursday, the day after Batista agreed to cede control of port operator LLX Logística SA to Washington-based EIG Global Energy Partners, officials at MMX Mineração e Metálicos SA , the backbone of the EBX conglomerate, said the iron ore producer will soon have a new controlling shareholder.

With the previous sale of controlling stakes in power producer MPX Energia SA to German utility E.ON SE and LLX's sale to EIG Global Energy Partners, two of six traded companies in the EBX group are no longer under Batista's control.

MMX, the third, is likely to be next and he is expected to have little more than minority stakes in the pieces of his former empire when restructuring is complete.   Continued...