Petrobras has until the end of June to report the results, or it risks facing loan defaults.
Petrobras has until the end of June to report the results, or it risks facing loan defaults. Reuters

In a new twist, Brazil's beleaguered oil company Petrobras on 13 February said it will publish its much-delayed audited results for 2014 by the end of May 2015, to fend off possible loan defaults.

On 11 February, the company's CEO, banker Aldemir Bendine said he aimed to release audited fourth quarter results by the end of March.

Petrobras must provide its audited fourth-quarter results by the end of June 2015 or face defaulting on more than $50bn (£32.5bn, €43.8) of bonds. The oil giant confirmed its intentions through a new securities filing yesterday (12 February, 2015).

By publishing its audited fourth-quarter financial results early, its new chief executive, banker Aldemir Bendine, is hoping to avoid just that.

The Brazilian state oil giant said the drop in oil prices and the company's high indebtedness will force it to reduce investment and look at other financing alternatives and ways to raise its cash flow.

This comes as Fitch Ratings downgraded Petrobras from BBB to BBB- on 3 February, saying that it had placed all of Petrobras' ratings on negative watch for further downgrades.

The downgraded ratings affect "approximately $50bn of issued debt", Fitch said in a statement, and come amid "increased and prolonged uncertainty" related to Petrobras' financial statements.

In the unaudited accounts of its third-quarter results, Petrobras, as Petroleo Brasileiro is known, failed to report any write-downs associated with a historical corruption scandal that involves kickbacks on contracts with suppliers.

This is the biggest corporate corruption case in Brazil's history. Federal police are investigating allegations that a cartel of construction companies fixed bids on the oil producer's contracts and bribed executives during a span stretching back to when President Dilma Rousseff served as Petrobras' chairman from 2003 to 2010.

To make matters worse, on 12 February an explosion from a suspected gas leak on a Petrobras rig off Brazil killed three people, injuring 10 and leaving six missing.