PDVSA to hold investor calls next week: sources

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A view of a gas station of Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA in Caracas

By Paul Kilby and Brian Ellsworth

NEW YORK (IFR) – Venezuela’s PDVSA plans to hold investor calls next week through BancTrust & Co, sources told IFR and Reuters on Thursday.

The calls, to be held on Monday, are seen as a rare move by the embattled state-owned oil company amid growing fears that a default could occur this year.

“There is no transaction (but) it is in the best interest of the company to engage with investors one-on-one and address their concerns,” said a source familiar with the matter.

One investor, however, said that notification about the calls also mentioned that a US dollar deal could follow.

Any sort of debt transaction is likely to come under scrutiny from the opposition, which has already decried recent bond sales as backing an immoral government.

“I don’t think an issuance from PDVSA is feasible as the opposition will deem it illegal,” said Jorge Piedrahita, CEO of Puma Investments.

“A lawyer would say that PDVSA has the authority to issue debt, but you don’t want to lend money (under those circumstances)”

Last month Goldman Sachs caused a ruckus after buying US$2.8bn bonds issued by PDVSA.

Critics dubbed the paper “hunger bonds,” as the government has slashed food imports in order to meet hefty debt obligations despite a terrible economic crisis.

(Reporting By Paul Kilby and Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Jack Doran)

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