Petrobras Is Said to Rule Out Buyout Offer for Braskem

(Bloomberg) — Petroleo Brasileiro SA is not considering proposing an offer to buy out Brazilian petrochemical maker Braskem SA, according to people familiar with the matter.

The government-owned oil producer known as Petrobras, which holds a 36.1% stake of Braskem, is not planning to pose an offer to acquire the remaining stake in the company because it doesn’t want to consolidate on its balance sheet the $9.8 billion of debt that Braskem holds, the people said, asking not to be named because the decision is not official or public yet. Petrobras is also ruling out a buyout proposal because that would turn Braskem into a government-owned firm and that is not the plan, the people said.

The decision follows a 10 billion reais ($2 billion) offer by Brazilian petrochemical maker Unipar Carbocloro SA to acquire a 34.4% stake in Braskem from the firm’s biggest shareholder, Novonor SA, the company formerly known as Odebrecht. That offer is competing with a bid by Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. and Apollo Global Management to jointly acquire all of Braskem’s shares, including the ones owned by Petrobras, for more than 37.5 billion reais ($7.8 billion).

Though Petrobras holds 47% of Braskem voting shares, compared to Novonor’s 50.1%, the companies have a shareholder agreement that gives the state-owned oil giant the right of first refusal in the case of any buyout offer. Petrobras doesn’t plan to exercise this right, the people said.

Read More: The Race for Braskem Heats Up With Unipar’s $2 Billion Offer

Petrobras hasn’t yet made a decision on which is the best offer, the people added, and is leaving Novonor and its creditors to lead negotiations with the bidders. Novonor’s 38.3% stake in Braskem is under the control of its creditors after the stake was pledged as collateral for 14 billion reais in loans that went unpaid when then-Odebrecht became entangled in one of Latin America’s biggest corruption probes, the so-called “Car Wash” scandal.

The funds from any sale of Novonor’s stake of Braskem must be used to pay back the debt owed to creditors.

Petrobras declined to comment beyond its June 13 statement, in which it said that a decision has not been made and that participating “in the petrochemical sector is one of the strategic elements of the company’s 2024-2028 strategic plan.” The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Jean Paul Prates, said on Wednesday that the decision of whether or not to increase its stake in Braskem would not be made in a hurry.

Unipar acquisition proposal is non-bidding and will last for 30 days starting on June 10. The company offered 36.5 reais per share, Braskem said in a filing, adding that Novonor would keep 4% of the outstanding shares. The company plans to launch tender offers in Brazil’s B3 stock exchange to acquire common shares and class A and class B preferred shares owned by Braskem’s minority investors. It will also offer to acquire up to all Brazilian Depositary Receipts, or BDRs, that trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

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