May 6, 2020 / 6:21 PM / 3 months ago

Embraer, Brazil airlines hire advisers to discuss government support: sources

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - At least two Brazilian airlines and planemaker Embraer SA (EMBR3.SA) have hired investment banks to help with talks with state development bank BNDES for government support, sources with knowledge of the matter said.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Brazilian planemaker Embraer SA is seen at the company's headquarters in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Roosevelt Cassio

Embraer has hired Itau BBA, the investment banking unit of Itau Unibanco Holding SA (ITUB4.SA), two sources said.

Embraer is seeking credit lines between $1 billion and $1.5 billion after a deal with Boeing Co (BA.N) fell through.

Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo reported earlier on Wednesday that Embraer hired Itau BBA.

Embraer and BNDES did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Itau BBA is also advising airline Azul SA (AZUL.N) on negotiations with BNDES, two people with knowledge of the matter said. Azul confirmed the hiring of Itau BBA, saying it was suggested by BNDES.

Azul had previously hired restructuring specialists for talks with its creditors, including banks, suppliers and lessors of its planes. All payments were suspended. Restructuring boutique Galeazzi & Associados is leading the restructuring work at Azul.

Santiago-based Latam Airlines Group SA (LTM.SN) has retained investment bank Banco BTG Pactual SA (BPAC3.SA) as adviser on talks with BNDES, two of the sources added, mainly focused on discussing on the convertible debt equation.

Latam Airlines confirmed the hiring of BTG Pactual.

BNDES is expected to finish negotiations with airlines and Embraer this month for a rescue package that may reach $2.5 billion.

Most of it is likely to be provided by BNDES, as private lenders have been resisting extending loans to airlines, an industry in which their current exposure is small, two sources said.

BNDES was initially considering extending loans to airlines equivalent to half of the amount they require, which is around $2 billion, with the remaining part provided by Brazil’s largest lenders, such as Banco Bradesco SA (BBDC4.SA), Itau Unibanco Holding SA (ITUB4.SA) and Banco Santander Brasil SA (SANB3.SA). Banks, however, rejected the plan and all parties are trying to reach an agreement.

BNDES’s support package to airlines will mix credit lines with convertible instruments that may give the bank a stake in the companies.

Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer and Carolina Mandl in Sao Paulo; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Matthew Lewis

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