Brazilian court blocks sale of Petrobras’ fuel distribution unit

A Brazilian federal court has issued an injunction to block the sale of the fuels distribution unit of state oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) after a request by union workers.

Members of an oil workers union in the northern state of Sergipe asked the court to block the sale process, arguing that Petrobras should hold a public tender to sell the stake in the subsidiary, instead of the current private negotiation.

Federal Judge Edmilson da Silva Pimenta decided in favor of the request. Petrobras said it plans to appeal the court’s decision.

Petrobras is looking to sell a stake in BR Distribuidora, Brazil’s largest fuel distribution company, as part of a divestment program to raise cash and reduce the company’s high debt load.

BR Distribuidora is one of the most coveted assets being put up for sale by Petrobras, with more than 7,000 filling stations across the country.