Big-Oil Bailout Begins as Debt Spirals Down

Mexico’s proud sugar daddy becomes giant financial sinkhole.
Pemex, Mexico’s state-owned oil giant, cannot seem to get a break these days. It notched up 13 straight quarters of rising losses. It now owes over $80 billion to international investors and banks. It needs to raise $23 billion this year to stay afloat. The cost of servicing that gargantuan debt mountain continues to rise. So it tries desperately to rein in its spending, without tackling – or even discussing – its endemic culture of corruption.
In recent days, Pemex received a 15 billion peso ($840 million) lifeline from three of Mexico’s homegrown development banks, Banobras, Bancomext and Nafinsa, to help the firm pay back some of its smallest providers, consisting mainly of domestic SMEs.
The loan was part of an arrangement cobbled together between the banks and the Mexican government. By today’s standards the amount involved is pretty meager, but the operation was about more than just raising funds: it was meant to restore confidence among both investors and suppliers in the firm’s ability to repay its debts.
‘This sends a sign of stability and confidence to the sector, which has been very nervous’ payments would not be made, explained Erik Legorreta, President of the Mexican Oil Industry Association, which represents around 3,000 service providers. ‘Members of the industry now have the confidence and certainty that the payments will be honored.’

This post was published at Wolf Street on March 16, 2016.