Citgo’s Venezuelan Parent Weighs US Bankruptcy to Slow Sale

Venezuela’s opposition is weighing a move that would slow the sale of oil assets under its control by having Citgo Petroleum Corp.’s holding company file for bankruptcy in the US, according to people familiar with the deliberations.

Bloomberg
First Published22 May 2024
Citgo’s Venezuelan Parent Weighs US Bankruptcy to Slow Sale
Citgo’s Venezuelan Parent Weighs US Bankruptcy to Slow Sale

Venezuela’s opposition is weighing a move that would slow the sale of oil assets under its control by having Citgo Petroleum Corp.’s holding company file for bankruptcy in the US, according to people familiar with the deliberations.

Opposition-appointed Petroleos de Venezuela executives are seeking to retain control of their most important overseas asset, which is up for action, and are mulling using a US Chapter 11 filing to block finalization of its sale, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the tactic. Trade publication Reorg previously reported the plan. 

Final bids are due June 11 for shares of Citgo’s US parent – which amount to ownership of the refiner — in a separate legal process. If the opposition decides to file for bankruptcy protection, it’s unclear whether that would happen before then, or before the winning bidder is announced in July, the people said.

“This play would buy them some more time to try and hike what they get for Citgo or bring in an outside party to rescue it,” said Charles Tatelbaum, a veteran bankruptcy lawyer who isn’t involved in the case.

Any decision by Citgo’s US parent, PDV Holding, to file for bankruptcy would need to be made in consultation with the opposition-led assembly, the only Venezuelan government body recognized by the US since it broke diplomatic relations with President Nicolas Maduro’s regime in 2019, said Yon Goicoechea, a member of the council that manages Venezuelan assets abroad known as CA.

“We have not taken any decision” on the issue of bankruptcy as an option, Goicoechea said. “We have been informed and participated in discussions on different options” regarding the legal strategies on the sale.

Under US bankruptcy law, PDVSA can ask a judge to stop all attempts to target Citgo and other assets while the court sorts out whether the refiner’s Chapter 11 filing was proper. Other companies who’ve turned to bankruptcy in hopes of corralling US litigation have had their cases thrown out.

While the auction is being held under the auspices of a federal judge in Delaware, it’s unclear whether any bankruptcy case would be filed in the state, the people said. Judge Leonard Stark refused last week to delay the auction’s final stage. Almost 20 creditors have won the legal right to some of the sale’s proceeds. 

In a statement today Citgo said its management had no plans to file for bankruptcy, declining to comment on matters regarding its shareholder, PDVSA. 

The Citgo sale is designed to generate billions of dollars to repay companies whose assets Venezuela seized under the late Hugo Chavez. Among the companies claiming a share of the sale’s proceeds are Siemens AG, ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil Corp. Conoco says it’s owed more than $1.2 billion over the seizures. 

The sale also is entangled in Venezuelan politics as the government of Maduro characterizes the potential loss of Citgo as the “theft” of an asset that provides much-need hard currency for the struggling country. 

While PDVSA remains in the hands of the Maduro government, its US subsidiaries are controlled by an ad-hoc board appointed by the political opposition, led by former legislative leader Juan Guaido. 

The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control also must sign off on the sale, as Citgo is protected by US law. 

The case is Crystallex International Corp. v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, 17-mc-00151, US District Court, District of Delaware .

With assistance from Andreina Itriago Acosta and Lucia Kassai.

This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modifications to text.

Catch all the Business News, Market News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.MoreLess
HomeNewsworldCitgo’s Venezuelan Parent Weighs US Bankruptcy to Slow Sale

Most Active Stocks

Bharat Electronics

303.55
03:51 AM | 14 JUN 2024
2.6 (0.86%)

Ambuja Cements

677.95
03:51 AM | 14 JUN 2024
13.65 (2.05%)

Indian Oil Corporation

170.00
03:51 AM | 14 JUN 2024
0.9 (0.53%)

GAIL India

221.90
03:51 AM | 14 JUN 2024
2.15 (0.98%)
More Active Stocks

Market Snapshot

  • Top Gainers
  • Top Losers
  • 52 Week High

General Insurance Corporation Of India

411.15
03:48 AM | 14 JUN 2024
21 (5.38%)

Timken India

4,505.20
03:48 AM | 14 JUN 2024
203.7 (4.74%)

The New India Assurance Company

252.00
03:48 AM | 14 JUN 2024
10.4 (4.3%)

Shree Renuka Sugars

51.18
03:48 AM | 14 JUN 2024
1.89 (3.83%)
More from Top Gainers

Recommended For You

    More Recommendations

    Gold Prices

    • 24K
    • 22K
    Bangalore
    73,229.00-212.00
    Chennai
    73,658.00288.00
    Delhi
    73,444.00289.00
    Kolkata
    73,229.00432.00

    Fuel Price

    • Petrol
    • Diesel
    Bangalore
    99.84/L0.00
    Chennai
    100.75/L0.00
    Kolkata
    103.94/L0.00
    New Delhi
    94.72/L0.00
    OPEN IN APP
    HomeMarketsPremiumInstant LoanGet App