RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Petrobras is in the
advanced stages of several major divestments, executives said on
Thursday, indicating that the company's ambitious deleveraging
program may quicken after a pause during the worst of the
coronavirus outbreak in Brazil.
Speaking to analysts following the company's third-quarter
results, executives at Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as the
state-run oil firm is formally known, said it hopes to finalize
negotiations to sell its RLAM refinery by the end of the year
and has recently received binding offers for its REMAN refinery,
in the Amazonian city of Manaus.
The company expects to receive binding offers for its REPAR
refinery in southern Brazil in December, they added.
Petrobras has been working to sell dozens of non-core assets
in recent years in a bid to reduce debt and sharpen its focus on
offshore oil production and exploration. Among those divestments
are the sale of nine refineries that are expected to rake in
well over $10 billion cumulatively for the company.
But the divestment process had ground to a crawl in recent
months amid the crash in crude prices and a more general
slowdown in the global economy.
The company expects Brazilian antitrust authorities to
approve the sale of gas distribution unit Liquigas in November,
Chief Financial Officer Andrea Almeida said.
The firm also continues to examine an initial public
offering for a collection of offshore midstream assets, she
Executives were not as sanguine about some other
Chief Executive Roberto Castello Branco said a planned sale
of its stake in the TBG gas pipeline unit, which connects Brazil
and Bolivia, was being held up by regulatory issues.
The company will not sell its stake in petrochemical company
Braskem SA until that firm makes significant
improvements related to governance and environmental
liabilities, he added.
Brazil-listed preferred shares in Petrobras were up 2.3% in
late afternoon trade, after the company beat margin estimates on
Wednesday evening, even as profit missed expectations due to
Brazil's benchmark Bovespa equities index was up
In terms of production, executives flagged a modest decrease
in fourth quarter output and increase in lifting costs due to
scheduled maintenance. Still, they said, a number of new wells
had come online in some of the company's most promising offshore
fields in the fourth quarter.
The company has noticed a short-term decrease in demand for
its products in Europe due to the resurgence of COVID-19 there,
said André Chiarini, the company's head of logistics and
trading. However, demand for Petrobras fuel in China remains
strong, he added.
(Reporting by Gram Slattery and Luciano Costa; Editing by
Kirsten Donovan and David Evans)