BRASILIA, April 1 (Reuters) - Odebrecht SA, the engineering firm at the heart of Brazil’s biggest ever graft probe, has put 12 billion reais ($3.34 billion) in assets up for sale to raise capital as it grapples with rising debt, Odebrecht Chief Executive Newton de Souza told Folha de S.Paulo in an interview published on Friday.
Odebrecht is seeking to sell a hydroelectric dam and a road concession in Peru and a stake in an oil project in Angola, and has received interest for its water and sewage unit Odebrecht Ambiental, Souza said in the interview.
The 12-billion-real asset-selling program should help Odebrecht pass “through the eye of the storm,” Souza was quoted by Folha de S.Paulo as saying.
Odebrecht is the largest of Brazil’s major engineering firms accused of colluding to overcharge state-run oil producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA and using the excess as bribes that were funneled to ruling coalition politicians and, in some cases, opponents of President Dilma Rousseff.
The company has already cut 70,000 jobs, Souza told Folha. He declined to comment on the corruption investigations.
Odebrecht last week said it agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. Marcelo Bahia Odebrecht, the company’s former chief executive officer and scion of the namesake family that controls the firm, was sentenced to 19 years in prison after being convicted of corruption and money laundering.
$1 = 3.5881 Brazilian reais Reporting by Silvio Cascione; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama