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Petrobras to decide on stake sale in fuel unit this month

Staff Writer | July 19, 2016
Petróleo Brasileiro (Petrobras) will decide the structure of a stake sale in fuel distribution unit BR Distribuidora before the end of the month.
Oil exploration   Petrobras to sell assets and cut debt
This is a sign that Brazil's state-controlled oil producer is trying to speed up $14.4 billion in targeted asset sales to cut debt.

In a securities filing, Petrobras said that it is analyzing several proposals for BR Distribuidora, which owns Brazil's No. 1 network of fuel stations. Neither the board nor management of Petrobras have decided whether to share or surrender control of the subsidiary, the filing added.

CEO Pedro Parente, who took office in June, wants to sell assets and cut debt depriving Petrobras of money-making units. Reuters reported in March that Parente's predecessors favored surrendering control of BR Distribuidora after bidders failed to emerge for a minority stake.

According to UBS Securities analysts led by Luiz Azevedo, a full sale of BR Distribuidora could deprive Petrobras of about $900 million in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization a year. EBITDA, as the indicator is known, is a widely followed gauge of operational profitability.

The asset sale target, which goes to the end of 2017, is seen as a key tool to help Petrobras reduce its debt burden, which at about $130 billion is the largest of any global oil company.