Aberdeen Exits Petrobras Equity Position Amid Corruption Probe
by Katia Porzecanski Julia Leite
7:15 PM BRST February 11, 2015
(Bloomberg) — Aberdeen Asset Management Plc sold all its Petroleo Brasileiro SA stock as a graft probe erodes confidence in the oil producer’s executives, according to Anne Richards, the asset manager’s chief investment officer.
“Given the corruption allegations, you start to have to question whether the management team was at least as on top of the business as you thought it was,” Richards said in an interview in New York. “There was a quality question mark that meant it just didn’t feel like that was the right place for us to be for now.”
Aberdeen, Europe’s largest publicly traded money manager by assets, held 8.4 million of Petrobras’s preferred shares as of the third quarter of last year, according to the latest publicly released data, down from 11.8 million shares in the first quarter. The stock has slumped 34 percent since Nov. 13, the day before police arrested more than 20 people as part of an investigation into whether executives at the oil producer demanded bribes when doling out contracts to builders.
The probe caused Petrobras to delay releasing quarterly earnings for two months, and prompted Chief Executive Officer Maria das Gracas Foster to step down after failing to broker a consensus over accounting for losses tied to corruption.
Aldemir Bendine, who was named to replace Foster as CEO on Feb. 6, said in an interview with TV Globo on Tuesday that investors should continue to believe in the company and its “enormous potential” for revenue. Petrobras
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