July 29, 2016 / 10:49 PM / 2 years ago

Mexico's Alpek to pay up to $700 mln for Petrobras' petchem assets- source

SAO PAULO, July 29 (Reuters) - Mexico’s Alpek SA de CV is expected to offer up to $700 million for Brazilian state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA’s petrochemicals units in the northeastern state of Pernambuco, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Friday.

Petrobras, as the Brazilian company is known, announced on Thursday exclusive talks with the Mexican group over the sale of PetroquímicaSuape and Citepe. The Brazilian company and Alpek will negotiate the deal for 60 days.

Petrobras’ petrochemical units have accumulated 5.6 billion reais ($1.7 billion) in losses over the last two years, which included impairment charges related to the largest-ever corruption probe in Brazil.

The plants in Pernambuco produce PTA, raw material for PET resin, and polyester fiber. The sale will reduce Petrobras’ debt, as well as the need to inject more cash into the plants, which have not been profitable yet, the source added.

Petrobras declined to comment. Alpek, the petrochemicals unit of Mexican conglomerate Alfa, did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Beyond the sale of its petrochemical assets in Pernambuco, Petrobras has tried to sell its 36-percent stake in Latin America’s largest petrochemical company, Braskem SA.

The deal has stalled as investors fret about the involvement of Grupo Odebrecht SA, Braskem’s controlling shareholder, in the Car Wash probe.

Odebrecht has put its 38-percent stake in Braskem as collateral to banks in a debt renegotiation concluded this month. ($1 = 3.2348 Brazilian reais) (Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Sandra Maler)

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