Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PBR:US) minority shareholders led by Aberdeen Asset Management Plc (ADN) won a second board seat in a year as they seek to steer Brazil’s state-run oil producer toward higher profits.
Jose Guimaraes Monforte, nominated by Aberdeen, joins Mauro Cunha, the head of Brazil’s capital markets association, in a 10-member board dominated by government officials and led by Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega. Cunha was elected for a second year at a shareholders meeting today after becoming the first ever representative of minority investors in the group little less than a year ago.
Europe’s largest publicly traded money manager is pushing for board members with financial experience as subsidized fuel sales and declining crude output undercut earnings. Rio de Janeiro-based Petrobras, which sold $70 billion in shares in 2010 on promises of boosting output, has lost 71 percent of its market value since a mid-2008 peak and saw production fall to the lowest in four years.
“The policy for defining gasoline and diesel prices has been detrimental to shareholders in recent years and still requires transparency,” Aberdeen, which oversees almost $300 billion of assets, said in a Mar. 18 e-mailed statement. “This compromises Petrobras’s capacity to invest and expand in the long term.”
Petrobras’s output decline last year contrasted with a 2010 goal to boost production 9.4 percent a year through 2014 by starting deep-water fields.
“I’m taking it as a big responsibility,” Monforte told Bloomberg at the shareholder meeting, declining to comment further.
Mantega was re-elected chairman and will represent the government, which controls Petrobras with a majority of voting shares.
“They can say what they think but in the end it’s the government calling the shots,” Eric Conrads, a money manager who helps oversee $500 million in Latin American stocks at ING Groep NV, said by telephone.
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