The Strategist

Petrobras strives to recoup losses after bribery scandal

11/21/2016 - 15:07

Anti-corruption investigation carried by Brazilian authorities helped oil state corporation Petroleo Brasileiro (Petrobras) return $ 60 million. The money was received from politicians, officials and businessmen involved in the corruption scheme. Part of them agreed to cooperate with the investigation.

Agência Brasil Fotografias
Agência Brasil Fotografias
Head of Petrobras Pedro Parente said the company lost about $ 1.8 billion due to then existing system of kickbacks. Investigation of corruption schemes in Petrobras traces back to spring of 2014, when the police arrested Paulo Roberto Costa, former Director of Refining and Supply. Since then, more than 100 people, including well-known politicians and businessmen, have been arrested in total.

Initially, amount of losses from shady business schemes of Petrobras were estimated at $ 2 billion. Pedro Parente, took lead of the oil giant in May, was more modest to estimate the losses. He stated the company was deprived of $ 1.8 billion. In any case, the reclaimed sum is just over 3%, which is a drop in a bucket. In addition, Petrobras re-valued assets, and wrote off another EUR 13.6 billion.

Currently, Petrobras is in a process of large-scale restructuring and sale of assets to pay off debts. Until the end of 2016, the company expects that sale of assets will bring $ 15.1 billion. In 2017-2018, the company hopes to receive $19.5 billion. Last week, the company's Board of Directors approved sale of Ultrapar Participacoes SA, the company’s division in charge of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). The deal will amount to 2.8 billion Brazilian reais ($ 820 million), the company said. Petrobras has announced its plans to sell assets already a year ago.

Despite all efforts, the Brazilian state oil giant in the third quarter of 2016 received an unexpected net loss of 16.46 billion reais ($ 5 billion), compared with a loss of 1.06 billion dollars a year earlier, according to the company's message.

Analysts had expected profit of 1.5 billion reais, yet large-scale write-down of value of assets due to depreciation, as well as fall of oil prices unexpectedly turned out with such a bad result. Thus, the company had to write off assets in amount of 15.3 billion reais ($ 4.7 billion).

Exposing corruption in Petrobras played a decisive role in the country’s political crisis. The scandal dragged in members of the Worker’s Party of former President Dilma Rousseff, as well as high-ranking functionaries and influential members of other parties. In late August, Brazilian senators recognized Rousseff guilty of violating the budget legislation (in particular, in hiding true size of the country’s budget deficit during her election campaign in 2014), and sent her to resign.

Former CEO of Petrobras Aldemir Bendine said the company intends to restore confidence of citizens and investors: "Starting from today, Petrobras will be returning to normal relations with investors, shareholders and creditors in Brazil and other countries. We will correct errors of the past, and devote resources to solve problems with the markets, achieve transparency they require from us, and earn their trust."


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