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Brookfield Buys Stake In Petrobras Unit For US$5.2 Billion

A group of investors led by Brookfield Asset Management Inc. will pay US$5.2 billion to purchase 90 percent of a pipeline unit owned by beleaguered state-run Brazilian energy giant Petrobras.

The group, led by the Canadian-based Brookfield, will pay Petrobras US$4.34 billion up front for majority control of Nova Transportadora do Sudeste SA, followed by the remaining US$850 million within five years.

As part of the deal, which awaits final approval by shareholders and Brazilian regulators, Brookfield Infrastructure Partners Ltd will spend a minimum of 20 percent of the value of the transaction. Meanwhile, Brookfield Asset Management has an initial investment of about 30 percent. Brookfield’s partners in the purchase include two sovereign wealth funds: CIC Capital Corp of China and GIC Private Ltd. of Singapore.

The pact was initially announced last February, and, according to Petrobras, negotiations were finalized earlier this month.

The Nova pipeline system transports natural gas from offshore oil and gas fields in Brazil and Bolivia to the southeastern Brazilian states of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo. Approximately 1.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day was transported via the Nova pipelines in 2014, based on Brazilian government data cited by Argus Media.

Related: Russia And Saudi Arabia Playing A Risky Game Ahead Of OPEC’s Meeting

The Nova deal represents the latest part of Petrobras’ plans to divest some of its assets, including the firm’s biofuel operations. The aim is to slash its budget by 25 percent over the next five years to focus mainly on its core assets in traditional energy.

“Petrobras wants to spend less to produce the same,” Chief Executive Officer Pedro Parente said. “In oil and gas we won’t be a smaller company,” he added in remarks mentioned by MercoPress.

Petrobras has been hit hard by the low price of oil as well as its involvement in the Lava Jato corruption scandal that has led to a political upheaval and economic slowdown in Brazil. In one of the latest developments in the probe, the former finance minister under ex-Presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, Guido Mantega, was detained for several hours on Thursday.

By Erwin Cifuentes for Oilprice.com

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