Brazil’s Petrobras in talks to sell a stake in its fuel distribution business

Brazil’s state-owned oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) is negotiating with three potential buyers who are interested in purchasing a stake in its fuel distribution business before a planned initial public offering (IPO) of BR Distribuidora later this year.

Petrobras CEO Aldemir Bendine told Dow Jones that none of the three potential buyers, which he described as “European and Asian,” have entered into exclusive talks.

“This is a study, I am working with both models, the partner takes a smaller stake and then we have the IPO for the rest, in a way that we keep control of the company,” Bendine was quoted as saying.

BR Distribuidora is the largest retail network in Brazil, with about 7,500 service stations nationwide. Petrobras posted a net income of USD 253 million in the first half for its fuel distribution activities.

Petrobras announced earlier that it is considering an initial public offering of shares in BR Distribuidora to raise capital and reduce its debt load. Petrobras, which has hired Citigroup Inc. to lead the IPO, plans to list BR Distribuidora in the Novo Mercado, a segment of the stock exchange in São Paulo.

Bendine added that Petrobras is looking for a partner for its giant Comperj refining and petrochemical complex that is under construction in the state of Rio de Janeiro. The first phase of the Rio de Janeiro complex is almost complete, but the company needs an additional USD 3 billion to finish the project.

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