By Shamaila Khan of AllianceBernstein

Emerging market corporate debt has returned big numbers for investors in recent years, as the sector rode a general wave of optimism. But those days are gone. In 2013, successful investors have had to take a more painstaking path.

This year, investors have succeeded by making careful decisions on securities only after scrutinising balance sheets and management teams, and identifying pockets of opportunity—while avoiding defaults. Latin America showcases the point. Default rates there have been very high (see chart below) but investors who avoided the region altogether missed out on some great opportunities. The problems weren’t systemic – they were idiosyncratic. Read more

The week in emerging markets, including our most read, five things we have learned and some long reads for the weekend. Plus the week in a chart: Batista’s OGX files for bankruptcy. Read more

By Samantha Pearson and Pan Kwan Yuk

It’s the end of an era for Brazil’s Eike Batista – the end of charming investors with dazzling oil forecasts, the end of being the poster boy for Brazil’s economic promise and perhaps even the end of parking his sports car in his living room.

Batista’s oil company OGX finally filed for bankruptcy protection on Wednesday, triggering Latin America’s largest ever corporate default. Read more

In the world’s list of exciting jobs, you would think one company would hardly qualify – OGX, the flagship oil company of Brazilian tycoon Eike Batista that has just two days to meet a debt payment or trigger Latin America’s biggest default.

Yet OGX is still hiring and firing. What’s more amazing still, people are stepping up to accept the new jobs. The same day that OGX announced its voluntary debt restructuring talks with creditors had collapsed, it said it was appointing a new director of exploration, Gilberto Carvalho LimaRead more

It’s not just bondholders and shareholders who are reeling from the financial collapse of Brazilian tycoon Eike Batista’s flagship oil company OGX.

With OGX revealing on Tuesday that it has cut payments to all but the most “critical” vendors for Tubarão Martelo – its most promising oil field and possibly its last hope of making money – suppliers are also quickly racking up losses. Read more

Even in the worst of circumstances, it seems Eike Batista’s oil exploration startup, OGX, retains some of the former pluckiness of its once super-rich entrepreneur founder.

The company announced on Tuesday that finally the moment the market has been expecting for months had come – it was going to miss an interest paymentRead more

OGX shareholders should be used to violent swings in the market by now. Shares in Eike Batista’s oil company are down more than 90 per cent this year. However, even by OGX standards, the last few days have been a rollercoaster for investors.

The stock gained as much as 49 per cent on Friday after OGX exercised a put option under which Batista would begin to pump as much as $1bn into the company through the purchase of new shares. On Monday shares fell over 17 per cent after Batista contested the decision to exercise the put. Read more

Cade, Brazil’s antitrust regulator, has this week revealed it is investigating the purchase of Petrobras’s 40 per cent stake in the BS-4 oil block by Batista’s oil company OGX last November.

They suspect OGX and Petrobras may have closed the $270m deal for the block in Brazil’s Santos Basin without the prior approval of the antitrust regulator.

Cade has 30 days to decide whether they have broken the law – if found guilty, the companies could be fined up to R$60m each and the transaction may be “annulled”. They may also be subject to further penalties. Read more

Some damning number crunching over at Bloomberg on Eike Batista’s net worth.

According to the report, Batista – who famously boasted that he would overtake Mexico’s Carlos Slim to become the world’s richest man by 2015 – currently has a net worth of just $200m.

Granted, that is still an awful lot of dosh for mere mortals like you and this beyondbrics reporter. But for Batista, whose fortune peaked at $34.5bn just 16 months ago, the collapse of his wealth caps a dramatic fall from grace. Read more

It’s a sure sign of just how desperate investors in Eike Batista’s companies have become.

Shares in MMX, LLX and OGX (Batista’s mining, logistics and oil companies) were among the top five gainers on Brazil’s stock market on Tuesday on talk about who, in theory, might be interested in buying their assets. Read more

After months of silence, Eike Batista has finally given a public response to the recent crisis across his business empire, publishing an open letter on Friday in local newspapers Valor Econômico and O Globo.

The letter was published in Portuguese and, according to his EBX group, there are no plans to release a version in English. But beyondbrics believes foreign investors also deserve an explanation and has done him the favour of translating the letter: Read more

A report in Valor Econômico on Thursday makes joyous reading for the bankers of struggling tycoon Eike Batista and represents the portents of doom for original holders of his international bonds.

Apparently, Batista and BTG Pactual, the Brazilian investment bank controlled by Andre Esteves, have cooked up a restructuring plan in which the billionaire will reduce his stakes in his more valuable companies to become a minority shareholder. Read more

Brazil’s government will not come to the aid of Eike Batista, the would-be world’s richest man whose fortune has evaporated and whose natural resource companies are raising alarm bells about their ability to meet their obligations.

Edison Lobão, mines and energy minister (pictured), told journalists late on Wednesday the government had no plans to offer help to Batista’s EBX Group. Asked if any such aid might emerge, he said succinctly, “No.” Read more

OGX, Eike Batista’s start-up oil company and the supposed crown jewel in the Brazilian billionaire’s empire, is in plenty of trouble.

Having seen its share and bond prices collapse over the past year after it repeatedly missed production targets, the company is now fighting for survival following the shock news on Monday that its only oil-producing wells would probably be closed down next year.

Just how bad are things exactly? Marcus Sequeira over at Deutsche Bank thinks OGX could run out of cash as early as Q3 this year, while analysts at Banco Santander and Credit Suisse reckon there is little or no value left for shareholders. More ominously, the words “distressed” and “debt restructuring” are being bandied around with increasing frequency in conversations about the company. Read more

Is this beginning of the end for Eike Batista?

Having raised billions for his conglomerate of start-ups from investors keen to partake in Brazil’s growth story, Batista’s empire has been slowly unraveling over the past 12 months after his flagship oil company OGX repeatedly missed production targets.

The crisis of confidence that has gripped his companies kicked up another notch on Monday after OGX dropped yet another bombshell - its only oil producing wells would probably cease production next year. The company also said it was shutting down three offshore projects. Read more

Someone out there just paid nearly 30 times the market price for shares in Eike Batista’s troubled shipbuilding and oil field services company OSX Brasil.

According to a statement issued late on Tuesday, OSX said it has raised R$183m ($82m) through a capital increase. Existing shareholders bought 4.6m shares at R$40.14 a pop. This compares to Tuesday’s closing price of R$1.36. Talk about doubling down. Read more

Is Eike Batista’s troubled oil company OGX Petroleo e Gas Participacoes about to run out of cash?

That’s certainly the view of Fitch, which on Friday slashed its rating on the company from B- to CCC, or 7 notches below investment grade. The move comes after both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s cut their ratings earlier in April and is the first downgrade following news of Batista’s surprised OGX share sale this week. Read more

OGX has to be the bet of the year. No one really knows what will happen to the struggling oil and exploration company, whose shares have crashed after it missed production forecasts, placing in jeopardy the financial health of the entire empire of Brazilian businessman Eike Batista.

The multi-billionaire (he apparently is still that, in spite of having his fortune shrink to less than one fifth of its earlier heights of $34.5bn, according to Bloomberg data) could hardly have spooked the markets more this week than if he had tried. Read more

Can things possibly get any worse? That’s the question investors are probably asking after shares in OGX hit a fresh low on Tuesday following revelations that Eike Batista has sold part of his stake in the struggling oil company.

According to a regulatory filing, Batista sold 70.5m OGX shares between May 24 and May 29 for R$121.8m ($56.7m), reducing his stake from 61 per cent to 59 per cent. The news prompted OGX shares to tumbled 9.3 per cent to R$1.17 – a new low. Read more

Looks like that potential Petrobras tie-up couldn’t be coming soon enough.

Moody’s on Tuesday downgraded OGX Petroleo e Gas Participacoes, Eike Batista’s flagship oil company, citing low production flows and concerns over tightening liquidity. Read more