UPDATE 3-Petrobras profit slumps; surprise writedown defies outlook
* Analyst average estimate nearly 8 times bigger than result
* Market-focused board is on course independent of govt -director
* Union board rep laments end of socially relevant projects (Adds comment from board member, context of impairment cuts)
By Jeb Blount
RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Brazilian state-led oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA said its second-quarter net income plunged 89 percent after a one-time charge for underperforming assets that caught analysts off guard.
The 1.28-billion-real charge was taken as Petrobras' new executives and board of directors try to control the company's $132 billion debt, the oil-industry's largest, by preparing up to $15.1 billion of assets for sale by the end of 2016.
The company also showed unexpected speed in casting off under-performing projects, some of which have been criticized as offering more political return to Brazil's ruling coalition than to Petrobras' bottom line.
"This wouldn't have happened under old management," said Deyvid Bacelar, who represents Petrobras workers on the board. "I'm still trying to understand; I don't know why the board moved so fast, some of the impaired projects have social and economic benefits that could have been saved if the board was ready to negotiate."
The company's historic $17 billion April writedown in the wake of a price-fixing, bribery and political kickback scandal had faced resistance from the previous board. Yet in the face of lawsuits and investor outcry, the government replaced politicians and generals in its controlling board bloc with market professionals. Continuación...