(Adds Odebrecht spokeswoman confirms CEO’s remarks, paragraph 4)
SAO PAULO, July 31 (Reuters) - Units of Odebrecht SA , the engineering group involved in Brazil’s largest-ever graft probe, plan to attract investors and list shares, its chief executive officer said in an interview published on Monday.
The plan foresees some Odebrecht units, including its construction and agribusiness arms, seeking partners and going public after the introduction of tougher corporate governance rules, CEO Luciano Guidolin told newspaper O Estado de São Paulo.
“The role of the holding company will be to devise the strategy, advise the units and allocate capital,” he said, adding there are no specific negotiations underway because listing shares can be a time-consuming process.
An Odebrecht spokeswoman confirmed the accuracy of his remarks in an emailed message.
Guidolin cited two operations that would be the prime candidates to seek partners and an IPO. Odebrecht Agroindustrial SA, the agribusiness arm, restructured debt last year and showed improved performance, he said. Its construction arm has a project portfolio worth more than $16 billion, the executive added.
Reuters reported exclusively in March that the family-controlled conglomerate ensnared in Brazil’s worst corruption scandal was considering going public once it finalized a thorough overhaul of governance practices.
The move follows the completion of a roughly 6.7 billion real ($2.14 billion) agreement to settle criminal charges with prosecutors in Brazil last December. The deal was expected to allow Odebrecht, Latin America’s biggest engineering firm, to participate in public works projects.
Odebrecht was accused of colluding to overcharge Petróleo Brasileiro SA and other state-controlled firms for contracts, then using part of proceeds from the scheme for donations and bribes to political parties. ($1 = 3.1301 reais) (Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Grant McCool)