December 5, 2016 / 8:27 PM / 2 years ago

Brazil court blocks sale of Petrobras fuels distribution unit

SAO PAULO, Dec 5 (Reuters) - A Brazilian federal court issued an injunction to block the sale of the fuels distribution unit of state oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) after a request by workers, according to the court’s press office.

Petrobras is looking to sell a stake in BR Distribuidora, Brazil’s largest fuel distribution company, as part of a divestment program that aims to raise cash to reduce its large debt load.

Members of an oil workers union in the northern state of Sergipe asked the court to block the sale process, arguing that Petrobras should hold a public tender to sell the stake in the subsidiary instead of the current private negotiation.

Federal Judge Edmilson da Silva Pimenta decided in favor of the request. The order can be appealed.

BR Distribuidora is one of the most coveted assets put up for sale by Petrobras. It operates more than 7,000 filling stations across Brazil.

Petrobras did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira and Roberto Samora; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Peter Cooney)

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