SAO PAULO, July 15 (Reuters) - A Brazilian court approved a debtor-in-possession loan to engineering firm OAS SA, the company said, after it earlier this year filed for bankruptcy protection in the wake of a corruption investigation that shut its access to refinancing.
In a statement published late on Tuesday, OAS said judge Daniel Carnio Costa freed up the so-called DIP loan of 800 million reais ($254 million) after court-appointed administrator Alvarez & Marsal Holdings LLC gave the go-ahead for the financing facility.
Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management will extend the loan to OAS, which will set aside a 24.4 percent stake it owns in infrastructure company Invepar as collateral, the statement added. The loan will be repaid once the Invepar stake is sold, the statement added. Brookfield is interested in that asset, sources told Reuters recently.
The loan will help OAS fund several projects, ensuring the necessary cash flow to pay for operations and avert massive dismissals during the proceedings, the statement added. The DIP loan is a lending facility that creditors extend to distressed companies during their judicial recovery process.
OAS had struggled to tap capital markets in the wake of accusations it was among the companies that participated in a corruption scheme at state-run oil producer and key client Petróleo Brasileiro SA. OAS has denied any wrongdoing.
In a separate development, a public relations executive working for OAS told Reuters that a New York bankruptcy judge has granted the company’s request for protection from U.S. creditors under terms of so-called Chapter 15. The decision gives OAS automatic stay that would keep creditor lawsuits at bay as it continues to restructure its debt in Brazil.
OAS filed for bankruptcy protection in a São Paulo court in March to facilitate the restructuring of 8 billion reais in debt owed by nine subsidiaries.
Brookfield, one of Canada’s largest money management firms, is negotiating the purchase of the Invepar stake, for which it could pay between 1.7 billion reais and 2.2 billion reais, sources told Reuters in June.
Brookfield secured the right to top any bid from rivals interested in the Invepar stake, namely local buyout firm GP Investments Ltd and France’s Vinci SA, the sources said.
$1 = 3.1440 Brazilian reais Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal Editing by W Simon