Iceberg Research, the short seller that targeted commodities trader Noble Group Ltd., has another trading house in its sights: Trafigura Group Ltd. Trafigura is overstating the value of debt securities related to its 49.5% stake in Porto Sudeste, an iron ore export terminal in Brazil, Iceberg, headed by Arnaud Vagner, said Wednesday in a report on its website, Bloomberg News reported. Iceberg estimates those securities may be worth only a 10th of the $490 million carrying value that Trafigura attributes to them.
Trafigura Group Ltd. will take control of Nyrstar NV, Europe’s biggest zinc smelter, as part of a deal to restructure the struggling company’s debt and steer it away from bankruptcy, Bloomberg News reported. Under the agreement, Trafigura -- Nyrstar’s main shareholder as well as a top supplier, customer and financier -- offered a package of its own debt securities to Nyrstar’s creditors in exchange for them writing off debt.
A group of bondholders of construction conglomerate Odebrecht SA proposed on Monday the restructuring of $3 billion in bonds requiring new collateral and a cash infusion to allow a four-year extension on maturities. In a proposal publicized by the bondholders advisers, Rothschild & Co and law firms Davis Polk and Pinheiro Neto, bondholders require payment with no discount from the bonds’ face value.
Creditors of Odebrecht SA’s engineering and construction division holding more than $1 billion of the Brazilian company’s bonds said they have proposed a debt restructuring, including a four-year extension of maturity, Bloomberg News reported. Odebrecht hasn’t responded yet to the proposal, which was presented on Wednesday, the creditor group said in a statement. The company was said in December to be running out of collateral it can pledge to creditors of its scandal-plagued construction unit.
Royal Dutch Shell, which is on trial in Italy over alleged corruption stemming from a $1.3 billion oil deal in Nigeria, now appears likely to face legal proceedings over the same issue in its home country, the Netherlands, the International New York Times reported. Shell said on Friday that the Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office had warned that it was preparing to prosecute the giant oil company “for criminal charges directly or indirectly related” to a Nigerian oil deal that occurred in 2011.
The Dutch government has taken a shareholding in Air France-KLM in an attempt to protect the country’s economic interests in the carrier, escalating tensions between Paris and The Hague, the Financial Times reported. Wopke Hoekstra, Netherlands’ finance minister, announced that his government had acquired a 12.68 per cent stake in the Air France-KLM holding group in recent weeks and will aim to build a shareholding equal to the French state at 14.3 per cent.
The 2007 takeover of the Dutch parts of Yukos Oil by Russian state oil company Rosneft’s former subsidiary Promneftstroy was illegal, the Dutch Supreme Court ruled on Friday, upholding an earlier lower appeals court ruling. Yukos Oil went bankrupt in 2006 after its former chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky, fell out with Russian leader Vladimir Putin and the Russian government began demanding billions in back taxes, Reuters reported. Most of Yukos’ assets were absorbed by the Kremlin’s flagship oil producer Rosneft, and its former owners have for years been trying to recover their possessions.
Brazil’s recent change of government has further delayed the long-awaited finalization of LyondellBasell Industries NV’s plan to buy Brazilian petrochemical company Braskem SA, three sources with knowledge of the matter said this week, Reuters reported. Netherlands-based LyondellBasell first said it had entered into exclusive talks to acquire control of Braskem from Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht SA in June. However, the deal’s price depends on a long-term naphtha supply contract with state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA, which also owns shares in Braskem.
Investors are asking fresh questions over whether the $8tn market in credit derivatives offers any true protection against debt default, after an obscure quirk threatened to render contracts relating to telecoms company VodafoneZiggo completely worthless, the Financial Times reported. The price of about $600m worth of credit-default swaps on the Dutch company has tanked over the past four days, nearly a year after problems first occurred with the contracts, which are designed to pay out if a borrower defaults.
For nearly a decade, Trafigura Group Chairman Claude Dauphin coveted a zinc deal with Europe’s top smelter. The commodities trader finally got across the threshold in 2015, months after its co-founder’s sudden death. Just a few years later, it’s become one of Trafigura’s biggest headaches, Bloomberg News reported. Nyrstar NV shares have plunged to record lows as falling zinc prices squeeze profit and drive worries about its huge pile of debt.