UPDATE 2-Petrobras takes $17 bln charge in wake of scandal, promises 'normality'

miércoles 22 de abril de 2015 21:50 GYT

* CEO Bendine says "guarantees a return to normality"

* Capital spending for 2015 to be cut to $29 bln

* Release of results removes risk of default (Recasts with CEO comments; adds details on results, and analyst quotes)

RIO DE JANEIRO, April 22 (Reuters) - Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras reported its biggest-ever loss on Wednesday, the result of a 50.8-billion-real ($16.8 billion) write-down in the wake of a massive corruption scandal.

The 2014 full-year net loss of 21.6 billion reais, which exceeds the company's total accumulated profit for nearly four years, comes as new Chief Executive Aldemir Bendine seeks to restore investor confidence. A widening international probe of contract fixing, bribery and political kickbacks at the company, formally called Petroleo Brasileiro SA, led to lengthy delays in publishing the results.

Of the write-downs, 6.19 billion reais, or about 12 percent, were directly related to the corruption probe, Petrobras said. It said the rest was "impairment" resulting from poor planing, declining oil prices, unrealized refinery project goals and excess costs such as over-priced goods purchased under tough national content rules.

"From here on in, Petrobras guarantees a return to normality in its relationship with investors, shareholders and creditors in Brazil and abroad," Bendine, who took over as CEO in early February, said at a press conference announcing the delayed financial results.

"We are cleaning up the errors in the treatment of company resources so that we can deal with the market with the transparency that it demands and deserves."

The write-down is one of Petrobras' first concrete steps to restore access to capital markets since the scandal forced the delay of audited financial statements in November. The company's financial difficulties have led to debt downgrades by major ratings agencies.   Continuación...