SAO PAULO, March 26 (Reuters) - Brazilian conglomerate Andrade Gutierrez is looking to sell stakes in power utility Cemig, hydroelectric dam Santo Antonio and call center group Contax as it tries to cut debt and expand abroad after a corruption scandal, its chief executive officer said in a newspaper interview published on Sunday.
CEO Ricardo Sena told Folha de S.Paulo the group is negotiating acquisitions in the U.S. and British construction sectors as it turns away from public works in Brazil that dragged it into the country’s biggest-ever graft investigation.
Andrade Gutierrez was one of the major engineering groups to reach a leniency deal with antitrust agency Cade in November, but Sena said progress has been slow in talks with federal auditing authorities that hold power over public contracts.
Without enough private-sector contracts to make up for lost government business, Andrade Gutierrez is eyeing the sale of nearly all of its Brazilian holdings, except for its construction division and a stake in toll road operator CCR SA , Sena told Folha.
That includes stakes in state-controlled power utility Cia Energetica de Minas Gerais, or Cemig, call center operator Contax Participações SA and the Beira Rio stadium, home to soccer club Internacional, he said.
The asset sales could bring the group’s debt down to 1.6 billion reais ($515 million) from 4 billion reais currently, Sena told the paper.
Press representatives for Andrade Gutierrez did not immediately respond to questions about the interview. ($1 = 3.11 reais) (Reporting by Brad Haynes; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)