Thursday, June 23, 2016

Pemex, First Reserve close to deal worth at least $500 mln


U.S. private equity firm First Reserve and Mexico's Pemex are nearing a sale and leaseback agreement worth at least $500 million, sources familiar with the operation said on Wednesday, as state-owned Pemex rushes to get extra cash.

One source said the deal was worth $500 million, while a second source said it was worth close to $600 million, adding that the deal would be signed early next week.

Pemex and First Reserve both declined to comment.

Bloomberg first reported the deal earlier on Wednesday.

Pemex, which has suffered from a prolonged oil rout, will sell some of its infrastructure assets to First Reserve, but will continue to use them and pay rent.

The sale and leaseback deal is the second that Pemex has negotiated in recent weeks as it scrambles to raise funds to invest and pay down debt. The company also planned to sell some of its infrastructure assets to private equity fund KKR for $1.2 billion, Reuters reported last week.

Another source confirmed that the Pemex deal with KKR closed on Friday. KKR declined to comment.

Pemex, which has been weighed down by huge losses from crude prices, is seeking quick ways to get cash and pare its bulging debt.

Both sale and leaseback deals were arranged during the leadership of former Chief Executive Emilio Lozoya, a source said. Lozoya was replaced as chief executive in February by Jose Antonio Gonzalez Anaya, who has launched deep cuts in Pemex's budget and projects, eating into the company's oil output.

First Reserve previously expressed interest in Mexico's oil sector, earlier this year taking a $900 million joint stake with asset manager BlackRock Inc in the second phase of a Mexico pipeline project. (Reporting by Mike Stone in New York and Christine Murray and Ana Isabel Martinez in Mexico City; Writing by Anna Yukhananov; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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