Petrobras inclined to redo fuel unit stake sale

Brazil’s state-controlled Petróleo Brasileiro SA is inclined to restart the process of selling part of BR Distribuidora SA, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said, as a recent bidding round put a low price tag on the fuel distribution unit.

The source, asking for anonymity as talks are underway, said preliminary board and management discussions were converging toward selling control of BR Distribuidora to garner a higher valuation. An initial plan to sell a minority stake was behind the disappointing bids, the source said.

To kickstart the process, Petrobras must tell the three firms that placed second-round bids last month that the structure of the deal will change, the source said. The three bidders were global energy and commodity trading company Vitol BV and private-equity firms GP Investments Ltd and Advent International Corp, the source said.

The 30 firms that participated in a first-round bid could be invited to join the reworked stake sale process, the source said.

Petrobras said in a Monday securities filing that the structure of the BR Distribuidora stake sale will be decided this month. Neither the board nor management of Petrobras have decided yet whether to share or surrender control of the subsidiary, the filing added.

The media office of Rio de Janeiro-based Petrobras, which fully owns BR Distribuidora, declined further comment.

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