Caskets Lie in the Way of $21 Billion in Petrobras Asset Sales

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Every now and then, Anelise Lara has to pass a row of coffins laid out near Petrobras’s offices in Rio de Janeiro, where she runs the oil giant’s $21 billion divestment program.

The caskets are a protest by workers fearful the assets she’s pushing to sell will go to foreign companies more focused on profits than the people of Brazil. For them, “privatization” is a tough concept to swallow. For Lara, it’s a necessary step toward renewal for a company shaken by a costly corruption scandal and shouldering the oil industry’s heaviest debt load.

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