UPDATE 1-Brazil's Petrobras mulls sale of ethanol plants -sources

miércoles 17 de junio de 2015 22:52 GYT

(Adds comment, detail of Petrobras asset-sale plan)

By Rodrigo Viga Gaier

RIO DE JANEIRO, June 17 (Reuters) - Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras is looking to sell some of its biofuel assets as it tries to raise cash to cover investment for new offshore oilfields and service its debt, two sources told Reuters on Wednesday.

The company, whose $125 billion of debt is the biggest of any oil company and the third-largest of any non-financial enterprise, plans to sell as much as $13.7 billion of assets by the end of 2016.

The first source, who has direct knowledge of Petrobras' plans, said the company's ethanol plants, which transform sugarcane into fuel, were the most likely area of the business to be sold. Petrobras has nine ethanol plants and five biodiesel plants.

The plants are less profitable than its businesses that distribute or sell ethanol and other biofuels, the source added. The company, formally known as Petroleo Brasileiro SA, does not plan to exit the biofuels sector entirely, according to the source.

"There are various ways for you to take part in the biofuels market. One way is business the other is owning assets," the source said. "To be in the business you don't need to have assets."

Petrobras has already shown assets to potential buyers, a second source told Reuters after being briefed on the company's plans.

Both sources asked not to be named as final decisions on the future of its biofuel businesses have not been made.   Continuación...