January 17, 2019 / 3:24 PM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil's Petrobras to restart stake sales for TAG pipeline

(New throughout, adds next court date, details and background on stake sale)

BRASILIA/RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) will reopen the bidding process for stakes in its Transportadora Associada de Gas (TAG) pipeline unit and Araucaria fertilizer factory, Brazil’s state-controlled oil company said on Thursday.

Petrobras, as the company is known, will also renew efforts to look for partnerships in refining, it said in a securities filing.

The oil company had been targeting a sale of a 90 percent stake in TAG, which operates about 4,500 kilometers (2,800 miles) of gas pipelines. The pipeline operator is the largest divestiture in Petrobras’ asset sales program.

Prior to the TAG sale being blocked in court, France’s Engie SA had been in talks to purchase the pipeline business and had submitted the highest bid, worth more than $7 billion.

Brazil’s solicitor general on Wednesday won its bid to overturn an injunction that was preventing the TAG sale.

A Supreme Court judge ruled last week to temporarily allow Petrobras to continue pursuing this divestiture, with the broader legal battle over the sale of state oil assets set to go before the full court for a decision on Feb. 27. (Reporting by Jake Spring and Marta Nogueira; editing by Jason Neely and David Gregorio)

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