Brazilian oil-field services company OSX Brasil SA, part of Brazilian businessman Eike Batista's industrial empire, said Friday it had obtained 2.7 billion Brazilian reais ($1.3 billion) in loans to complete construction of a shipyard.
The financing comes from Brazil's Merchant Marine Fund via two equal BRL1.35 billion loans from state-run banks Caixa Economica Federal and the Brazilian National Development Bank, or BNDES, OSX said.
The loans will be used to complete OSX's shipyard at the massive Acu port complex in northeastern Rio de Janeiro state, under construction since July 2011. OSX is part of a rebirth in Brazil's shipbuilding sector, driven by expected demand for ships, platforms and drilling rigs as the country develops recently discovered oil fields off the country's coast. Brazil was once one of the world's largest shipbuilding countries before an economic downturn in the 1980s caused the sector to nearly shut down.
OSX is positioning itself as a significant player in the renaissance of Brazil's shipbuilding industry, one of a series of new shipyards under construction to meet demand for oil platforms and drilling rigs the government wants to build in the country. Oil companies operating in Brazil are obligated to use a certain percentage of locally produced goods and services under strict local content rules.
The shipyard is expected to start operations in the first quarter of next year. OSX Construcao Naval already has orders for 16 vessels for offshore oil and natural gas production, the company said.
The Merchant Marine Fund financing will allow OSX to pay off a $228 million bridge loan obtained earlier this year from the BNDES by the OSX shipbuilding unit OSX Construcao Naval. The bridge loan was for a period of 18 months at an approximate interest rate of 5.4%. The loan was expected to be paid off in 18 months or after the first disbursement from the BRL2.7 billion Merchant Marine Fund loan, OSX said in January.
The BNDES and Caixa loans each carry a repayment period of 21 years.
Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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