The Strategist

Brazil to sell its stake in Petrobras

05/23/2016 - 15:32

Brazil's government may approve sale of the state share in the scandal-ridden Brazilian oil and gas giant Petrobras, Reuters reported, citing sources familiar with the situation.

Earlier it was reported that the Brazilian government is considering selling shares in state assets, including postal, transport and insurance companies. According to Globo newspaper, the government can take such shifts to raise capital and streamline the public sector.

Interlocutors of the agency noted that the list of companies subject to partial privatization has not yet been specified. However, according to their data, the government of Interim President Michel Temer wants to sell a controlling stake in Petrobras division and Eletrobras Furnas company (regional power utility and a major subsidiary of Eletrobras). The investor presentation could take place in mid-July in New York, London and other financial capitals, the agency reported.

Earlier, Brazilian media reported that the government may sell a stake in Brazil's postal service Correios, the State Mint Casa de Moeda and in insurer Caixa Economica Federal. Moreover, the authorities are considering partial privatization of national airport operator Infraero, and of more than 200 small companies owned by state power company Eletrobras.

Brazilian company Petrobras found itself at the center of a corruption scandal in 2014, when it became known that several functionaries had signed contracts and received for that a commission of 3% of the contract amount. These funds were subsequently used to bribe politicians and officials. According to the Brazilian authorities, overpricing and bribery brought about 3.8 billion dollars to the ideas’ authors.

Earlier in May, Petrobras sold its 67% stake in a subsidiary to Argentinian energy company Pampa Energia for 892 million dollars. In addition, Petrobras sold its subsidiary in Chile to Southern Cross Group, a private company, located in Argentina, for 490 million dollars.
Petrobras has a hard game to play if it wants to achieve the target for asset sales, get rid of lingering effects of a large corruption scandal and pay out the debt burden, largest in the oil industry.

These actions of Petrobras are part of the company's plan to sell assets at $ 15.1 billion, announced in the middle of last year. Top managers of the company said that they will be able to achieve the goal by the end of 2016. So far, however, Petrobras has had difficulty selling assets because of low oil prices.

Net debt for 2015 increased by 10%, that is, up to 799.25 billion Brazilian reais.

In addition, the company has also significantly reduced investments. Earlier it was reported that Petrobras is investing 98.4 billion dollars during 2015-2019. Thus, the company is reducing investments, compared with the forecast of 130.3 billion dollars made in June 2015. Besides, Petrobras has shortened its target for oil production in Brazil by 40 thousand barrels per day in 2016, and 100 thousand barrels per day in 2020.