Brazil to sell 32% of Petrobras shares

Brazil's Commerce Minister Alcides Tapias announced that the government plans to sell 32% of state oil company Petroleo Brasiliero SA's shares by late July. The shares will be sold in small blocks to domestic and foreign investors.


Brazil's Commerce Minister Alcides Tapias has announced that the government plans to sell 32% of Petroleo Brasiliero SA's shares by late July.

Brazil first announced plans for the offering last March (OGJ, Mar. 29, 1999, Newsletter). The sale will be open to domestic and foreign investors, although there are limits on the number of shares any one entity can buy, so as to control any outsider's influence over the largely state-owned firm.

"Brazil's government would retain control over Petrobras even after the sale," said Tapias. "It's a minority stake we're proposing to sell."

After the block of shares is sold, the government will hold a 51% controlling stake in Petrobras.

Tapias says the sale is in the national interest, because it will enable the government to raise money and pay down debt without surrendering control over Petrobras. The sale is expected to bring in at least 8 billion reals.

The National Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES) may finance share buyers, said Minister of Mines and Energy Rodolpho Tourinho.

Tourinho believes that now is an opportune time to sell the stock, because the Petrobras share price is strong.

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