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Citgo Said to Hire Lawyers to Weigh Options Including Bankruptcy

Jan. 31, 2019, 10:49 PM

Citgo Petroleum, the U.S. refiner controlled by Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, has hired law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher to help it weigh strategic options, including a potential bankruptcy filing, according to a person familiar with the matter.

A bankruptcy filing is not high on the list of options being considered, the person said, asking not to be named because the discussions are private. Boies Schiller Flexner LLP is also advising Citgo on strategic alternatives, a separate person said.

Citgo, Venezuela’s crown jewel in the U.S., said through a spokesman that it has no intention of entering bankruptcy proceedings and that it generated some of its strongest earnings in a decade in 2018.

“We continue to maintain a strong balance sheet, flat debt levels and liquidity of more than $1 billion into the new year,” the spokesman said.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that Citgo was weighing options including a bankruptcy filing.

Citgo is current on its obligations even as both Venezuela and its oil company, known as PDVSA, have defaulted on billions of dollars of international debt.

A spokesman for Boies Schiller declined to comment. A representative for Willkie Farr didn’t immediately return requests for comment.

—With assistance from Lucia Kassai.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission

To contact the reporters on this story: Steven Church in Wilmington, Delaware at schurch3@bloomberg.net; Eliza Ronalds-Hannon in New York at eronaldshann@bloomberg.net; Davide Scigliuzzo in New York at dscigliuzzo2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rick Green at rgreen18@bloomberg.net; Nikolaj Gammeltoft at ngammeltoft@bloomberg.net Shannon D. Harrington