Ethanol unit sale by Brazil's Petrobras hits snag -sources

lunes 22 de junio de 2015 23:00 GYT

By Terry Wade and Marcelo Teixeira

HOUSTON/SAO PAULO, June 22 (Reuters) - Plans by Brazil's Petrobras to sell its stake in ethanol and sugar producer Guarani SA have hit a snag as the state-run oil company has not been offered enough money for the asset, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Petrobras, which is struggling with a corruption scandal and stagnant output, is scrambling to sell around $3 billion in assets this year and $13.7 billion by the end of 2016.

The firm, formally known as Petroleo Brasileiro SA, wants far more for its current 42.9-percent stake than the approximately $200 million that its partner in Guarani, French agricultural commodity company Tereos, is willing to pay, the sources said.

A sale was first discussed at Petrobras headquarters in April, said the sources, who declined to be identified as they were not authorized to speak with media.

Petrobras declined to comment, while the Brazil head of Tereos said he was not aware that Petrobras planned to quit the partnership.

Petrobras, whose $130 billion of debt is bigger than any other oil company, has been hit hard by plunging oil prices that have left it struggling to get the prices it would like for assets.

"The timing is terrible," said Julio Maria Borges, director at Job Economia, a consulting firm specialized in sugar and ethanol in Brazil.

"But if Petrobras is willing to take a loss, it will sell."   Continuación...