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Petrobras Creditors Agree To $6.22 Billion Debt Swap

Petrobras creditors have agreed to swap $6.22 billion in Petroleo Brasiliero bonds that are due between 2019 and 2021 for long-term securities, allowing Brazil’s state-owned oil company to lower its debt burden during a period of chronically low oil prices.

In a Monday filing, Petrobras said it would swap $2.285 billion of crude oil debt into 5.299 percent bonds due in 2025 and another $3.935 billion into 5.999 percent securities maturing in 2028.

In a bid to raise cash, Brazil proposed a plan to put up for privatization 57 major state infrastructure assets, including the sale of some or all of its 51-percent stake Electrobras, the state utility giant, by the middle of next year.

“The overall perception is that the company can finally free itself from state control and that it will adopt meritocracy and negotiate better terms with suppliers,” Electrobras chief executive Wilson Ferreira Jr told Reuters when the privatization plan was announced.

Brazil’s decision to privatize Electrobras was cheered by investors who welcomed what they perceived as the government trying to reduce state meddling in corporate affairs, which has brought in the past a lot of troubles for a string of Brazilian companies, presidents, and governments. 

Related: OPEC’s Premature Victory Lap

New foreign direct investment is another way that Brazil plans to raise new capital. As many as 17 companies have registered to bid next month in two rounds of exploration license awards in Brazil’s pre-salt layer, Brazilian Oil and Gas Secretary Marcio Felix said on the sidelines of an event earlier in September.

According to Petrobras Chief Executive Officer Pedro Parente, oil is being extracted from the pre-salt offshore wells at the low-low cost of just $8 per barrel—an attractive figure that is piquing the interest of several major foreign players.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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