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(Updates with CFO comments starting in second paragraph.)
Feb. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA will seek to sell “higher value” assets in the first half of the year in a bid to free up $13.6 billion for investments to develop deepwater fields, Chief Financial Officer Almir Barbassa said.
Petrobras has been “conservative” in estimating the value of assets it plans to sell, Barbassa said in a conference call with investors today. The plan includes the sale of a refinery in Japan and exploration assets in Brazil and abroad, he said. The Rio de Janeiro-based company is also paring loans to its suppliers.
“We are now doing a more specific design of the assets to start bringing them to market,” Barbasa said. “We have to bring assets with higher value.”
Last year Petrobras sold a 50 percent stake in two oil blocks in Tanzania to Royal Dutch Shell Plc and last week agreed to sell 40 percent of natural-gas distributor Gas Brasiliano Distribuidora SA to Cia Energetica de Minas Gerais, Brazil’s third-largest electricity company by market value.
About half of the capital Petrobras is shifting to its investment program will come from asset sales, Barbassa said. The plan also includes replacing the company’s direct loans to suppliers with bank loans in which Petrobras only offers guarantees.
Petrobras fell 2.8 percent to 23.69 reais at 3:35 p.m. in Sao Paulo. Before today, it rose 13 percent this year, less than the 16 percent gain in the benchmark Bovespa index.
--Editors: Carlos Caminada, Robin Saponar
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