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Brazil oil company OGX gets six-month delay in debt payment

Eike Batista, Chairman and CEO of EBX Group speaks at a dinner panel discussion at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills,
Eike Batista, Chairman and CEO of EBX Group speaks at a dinner panel discussion at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills,

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazilian oil company OGX Petróleo e Gás SA won a six-month delay in a debt payment that will reduce the risk of default by the firm controlled by Brazilian tycoon Eike Batista, according to securities filings on Friday.

OGX Austria GmbH, which owns 100 percent of OGX Brazil bonds in circulation, agreed to delay a debt payment to March 25 from September 25, OGX said in a securities filing.

The amount of the debt payment was not specified in the filing. OGX officials in Brazil were not immediately available for comment after business hours.

OGX is rapidly running out of cash after output from its first offshore oil field, Tubarão Azul, turned out to be lower than expected and efforts to put another field into production are delayed. Efforts to raise new capital by selling stakes in oil and gas fields has also stalled.

A plunge in the company's share price, as well as those of other companies in Batista's EBX energy, mining, shipbuilding and port-operation group, caused his fortune, once Brazil's largest, to shrink and limited his ability to keep financing OGX, a startup with more investment expenses than revenue.

Batista is also challenging OGX's request that he put $100 million into the company under a promise known as a put option. The put option commits him to put up to $1 billion into OGX at the board's request.

OGX Austria has sold the following bonds: $2.563 billion of 8.5 percent debt due in 2018 and $1.063 billion of 8.375 percent debt due 2022. It was not immediately clear if OGX's payments are used to honor those bonds.

Both are rated CCC-, or likely to default, by Standard & Poor's. The OGX Austria bonds due in 2018 are trading at 17 percent of face value and the bonds due in 2022 are trading at 17.5 percent of face value.

OGX stock has lost nearly a quarter of its value in the last two days, slipping to 28 cents in São Paulo, an all-time low, after the Valor Economico daily newspaper reported Thursday that OGX was likely to miss a bond payment next week. Valor did not name a source for its story.

OGX has lost 94 percent of its value since the beginning of the year.

(Reporting by Jeb Blount; Editing by Gary Hill and Lisa Shumaker)

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