CARACAS Dec 23 Venezuelan state oil company
PDVSA said on Friday it has used 49.9 percent of its
shares in U.S. subsidiary Citgo as collateral for
loan financing, two months after having used the other 50.1
percent as collateral in a bond operation.
Finance industry publication REDD this week reported that
the shares had been pledged as collateral for a $1.5 billion
loan from Russian oil firm Rosneft, citing a source and a filing
in the state of Delaware.
PDVSA is struggling under low oil prices and an unraveling
socialist economy, spurring investor concerns that it may not be
able to meet heavy bond payments. President Nicolas Maduro
dismisses default talk as a campaign against him.
"Just as PDVSA in the month of October used 50.1 percent of
Citgo for the bond swap operation, it has used the remaining
49.9 percent for new financing," the company said in a
statement, without detailing the financing agreement.
Reuters was unable to immediately obtain comment from
Citgo owns three refineries and a network of terminals and
pipelines in the United States.
Venezuelan opposition leaders have pounced on the Citgo
decision as evidence that Maduro's government is drawing down
state assets to finance a collapsing economic system. PDVSA in
its statement on Friday said the media and the opposition were
distorting the issue as part of a campaign against it.
PDVSA in October completed a $2.8 billion bond swap that
helped push heavy 2017 payment obligations into 2020. The
operation had considerably lower participation than had been
originally anticipated, but was broadly seen by investors as
improving the firm's cash flow.
(Reporting by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Leslie Adler)