UPDATE 1-Petrobras says 12 pct of staff to take early retirement
* Plan may save Petrobras $4.5 bln by 2018
* Petrobras says 8,298 employees to take cash to quit
* Company to take 1.6 bln reais net charge in 1st quarter (Adds cost per retiring employee, analyst comment, share price, paragraphs 3-4 and 7)
By Jeb Blount
RIO DE JANEIRO, May 5 (Reuters) - Brazil's state-run oil company, Petroleo Brasileiro SA, said on Monday it expects to save about 10 billion reais ($4.5 billion) by 2018 after one in eight employees agreed to quit under an early retirement plan.
Petrobras, as the company is known, said in a statement that 8,298 employees signed up for the plan and that their departure will cut labor costs by 13 billion reais over five years.
Petrobras will write off the 2.4 billion-real cost of the voluntary dismissal program's incentives in the first quarter, or almost 290,000 reais ($129,000) per retiring employee. When 815 million reais of related tax credits are included, the program will reduce earnings by 1.6-billion reais in the period, the company said. Petrobras plans to announce first quarter results May 9 after markets close.
"We expect a negative result essentially as a consequence of the provision," said Auro Rozenbaum, oil company analyst with Bradesco BBI Equity Research in Sao Paulo, adding that the provision should erase much of the impact of a fuel-price increase.
The Rio de Janeiro-based company turned to layoffs after other efforts to raise money or cut costs faltered. Its earnings have also come under pressure from the government , which forces the company to subsidize fuel costs by keeping domestic gasoline and diesel prices below world levels. Continuación...