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SAO PAULO/BRASILIA, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Shares of Brazil’s Braskem SA dropped for a second day on Wednesday on speculation that No. 2 shareholder Petróleo Brasileiro SA is selling the 36.1 percent stake it owns in Latin America’s largest petrochemical producer.
According to Folha de S. Paulo newspaper, Petrobras, as Brazil’s state-controlled oil producer is known, is exiting Braskem as part of a targeted $15.1 billion in asset sales this year. Petrobras’ stake in Braskem is currently worth 4.8 billion reais ($1.2 billion), according to Thomson Reuters calculations.
Petrobras has hired Banco Bradesco BBI to conduct the stake sale, Folha reported, which did not say how it got the information. Bradesco BBI has already started to pitch the deal to foreign investors, the paper said.
Non-voting shares of São Paulo-based Braskem shed as much as 4.5 percent to 25.40 reais in mid-morning trading in São Paulo, paring back the stock’s gains over the past 12 months to 75 percent.
Engineering conglomerate Odebrecht SA owns 38.3 percent of Braskem, which is also the largest producer of resins in the region. All the companies declined to comment on the Folha report.
The report came weeks after Petrobras agreed to provide a stable stream of naphtha shipments to Braskem for five years, finishing a round of protracted negotiations that lasted months. Santander Investment Securities analysts said Petrobras’ exit from Braskem made sense after signing terms of the new naphtha contract.
On Tuesday, Petrobras trimmed capital spending for the 2015-2019 period by about 25 percent to $98 billion, a move that investors said was an admission that expansion plans imposed over more than 12 years by leftist Workers’ Party governments were unrealistic. Petrobras is increasingly relying on asset sales and cost cuts to pay for investment.
$1 = 4.0247 Brazilian reais Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Silvio Cascione; Editing by Mark Potter, Jeffrey Benkoe and Paul Simao