Petrobras brings in Merrill to help in $5 bln selloff plan-sources
LONDON/RIO DE JANEIRO, June 3 (Reuters) - Indebted Brazilian oil company Petrobras has brought in Bank of America Merrill Lynch to help manage a multi-billion dollar divestment plan and has already contacted major oil companies who might be interested buyers, three sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
Petrobras, whose total debts of some $170 billion make it the third-most indebted non-financial company in the world and the biggest debtor in the oil industry, is exploring the sale of stakes in a series of assets to raise around $5 billion, the sources said.
The company has approached between 10 and 15 oil majors about the disposal plan, which could include operating the assets concerned, the sources said, declining to be named since the matter is private.
Petrobras, which has said it expects to sell $13.7 billion of non-core assets this year and next, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Merrill Lynch declined to comment.
Industry bankers said large companies including Total , Exxon, BP, Statoil and Shell had all been contacted and would likely express interest in the assets.
One of the sources stressed however that decisions were still being taken on which assets were for sale and whether operating rights would be offered, cautioning that no deal was certain.
The divestment plan marks a change for Brazil, whose government has been tightening control over the industry and limiting competition for Petrobras in the country's most productive oil regions.
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