(Adds details about Gouvea Vieira’s previous fuel distribution holdings, Petrobras asset sale background)
RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Brazil’s Gouvea Vieira family plans to team up with a Brazilian investment fund to bid for control of the BR Distribuidora unit of state-led oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, the family’s most prominent member said on Wednesday.
Eduardo Eugenio Gouvea Vieira, who is president of Firjan, the Rio de Janeiro-state Federation of Industry, told reporters that his family and the investment fund informed Petrobras, as the oil company is known, of their intentions in late July.
He did not name the fund.
A purchase of up to a 51 percent controlling stake in the fuels distribution unit, formally known as Petrobras Distribuidora SA, would return the Gouvea Vieira family to a business it left only nine years ago as growing state control of the country’s petroleum business undermined its investment in the Ipiranga Group.
The Gouvea Vieiras were one of five families that controlled Ipiranga and its refining, distribution and petrochemicals business. They sold it to Petrobras, Ultrapar Participações SA and Braskem SA in 2007 for $4 billion.
Petrobras said on July 27 it expects to sell 60 percent to 75 percent of BR Distribuidora’s total capital, keeping all of its non-voting preferred shares and selling 51 percent of its voting stock.
Petrobras expects to have bids for the unit by the end of November or early December and complete the sale by early 2017.
The sale of BR Distribuidora is part of a plan to sell about $15.1 billion in assets in 2015 and 2016 to help reduce Petrobras’ $130 billion of debt, the largest in the oil industry. (Reporting by Marta Nogueira; Writing by Jeb Blount; Editing by Leslie Adler)