Petrobras to decide on stake sale in fuel unit this month

Petróleo Brasileiro SA will decide the structure of a stake sale in fuel distribution unit BR Distribuidora SA before the end of the month, a sign that Brazil’s state-controlled oil producer is trying to speed up $14.4 billion in targeted asset sales to cut debt.

In a Monday securities filing, Petrobras (PETR4.SA) said that it is analyzing several proposals for BR Distribuidora, which owns Brazil’s No. 1 network of fuel stations. Neither the board nor management of Petrobras have decided whether to share or surrender control of the subsidiary, the filing added.

Chief Executive Officer Pedro Parente, who took office in June, wants to sell assets and cut debt depriving Petrobras of money-making units. Reuters reported in March that Parente’s predecessors favored surrendering control of BR Distribuidora after bidders failed to emerge for a minority stake.

According to UBS Securities analysts led by Luiz Azevedo, a full sale of BR Distribuidora could deprive Petrobras of about $900 million in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization a year. EBITDA, as the indicator is known, is a widely followed gauge of operational profitability.

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