Brazil's Batista regrets taking his companies public

Rio de Janeiro, July 20 (IANS/EFE) Brazilian magnate Eike Batista wrote in an article that he regretted taking his companies public without allowing sufficient time to develop them.

"If I could go back in time, I wouldn't opt for the stock market," Batista, once the world's seventh-wealthiest person, said in the op-ed published late Thursday in Brazilian financial daily Valor Economico.

The business leader's net worth has fallen fast due to a sharp drop in the share price of his publicly listed companies, a turn of events triggered by a crisis in credibility surrounding his EBX conglomerate and disappointing results at that group's OGX oil and gas unit.

Early this month, OGX acknowledged that output would likely cease next year at its only oil field currently in production due to complicated geological conditions.

The sell-off in OGX shares also has affected the prices of its sister companies such as LLX (logistics), MMX (mining) and MPX (power generation).

Batista wrote that, in retrospect, he should have created a private equity structure that would have allowed him to start from zero and develop each company for at least 10 years.

He denied accusations that he deceived investors by reporting inflated results.

Batista blamed elevated expectations surrounding OGX - taken public before it had any producing wells - on forecasts by independent analysts.

"I was ecstatic about the news coming my way" about the potential of the reserves and the company's projected output, he wrote.

"I lost and I'm losing billions of dollars with OGX. Would someone deceive his neighbour at the cost of so many billions?" the magnate asked rhetorically.

Prior to the full-blown crisis at EBX, Forbes magazine said Batista's net worth had fallen to $10.6 billion last December from $19.4 billion at the end of the previous year.

--IANS/EFE

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