Petrobras to acquire Esso assets in Chile for US$400mn

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Friday, August 8, 2008

Brazil's federal energy company Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) has signed an agreement to acquire US oil major ExxonMobil's (NYSE: XOM) Esso distribution assets in Chile, the company said in a statement.

Petrobras will pay approximately US$400mn for stakes in Esso Chile Petrolera and other associated Chilean companies with dealings in retail, industrial and aviation fuel distribution.

The agreement includes 230 service stations, six fuel distribution terminals and interests at Sociedad Nacional de Oleoductos (22%) and Sociedad de Inversiones de Aviación (33.3%), according to the statement.

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ExxonMobil's chemical, lubricant and other specialty businesses in Chile were not included in the sale agreement, according to Petrobras.

When the deal closes in 2Q09, Petrobras will obtain a 16% market share of Chile's retail fuel distribution and a 14% market share of the country's industrial fuel distribution business.

Sugar and ethanol company Cosan (NYSE: CZZ) announced on April 24 that it would buy ExxonMobil's downstream assets in Brazil for US$954mn.

INVESTMENTS

Petrobras, meanwhile, plans to invest US$90mn in Chile in the coming five years, Petrobras director for international activities Jorge Zelada said at a press conference in Rio de Janeiro.

The company will finance the Esso purchase with its own funds, Zelada added, stating that financing for the purchase would not be necessary.

The executive denied that Petrobras was is negotiations to acquire ExxonMobil's distribution assets in Uruguay.

Petrobras is planning to establish partnerships with Chile's state oil company Enap for biofuels supply agreements and LNG, according to Zelada.

Enap has a stake in the GNL Quintero JV constructing an LNG regassification terminal in Chile's region V. The UK's BG (LSE: BG), which also has a stake in the JV with Spain's Endesa, is expected to provide the plant with initial LNG shipments.

Zelada did not elaborate on the LNG plans for Chile.

MARKET REACTION

"The acquisition was expected, because Petrobras was already evaluating Esso's assets, including the Chilean operations," Mônica Araújo, a market analyst at brokerage Ativa, told BNamericas.

The purchase makes sense taking into account Petrobras' strategic planning to extend its presence in Latin America, she said.