Brookfield nears US$1.7bn purchase of Odebrecht waterworks firm

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Canada's Brookfield Asset Management would like to acquire the 70% stake that Brazilian engineering group Odebrecht owns in waterworks company Odebrecht Ambiental by December.

If the acquisition goes ahead, the remaining 30% would remain in the hands of the investment fund committee (FI) of local unemployment insurance fund FGTS. The purchase would be worth some 5.5bn reais (US$1.72bn), according to local paper Estado de São Paulo.

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The Canadian fund is working on last-minute contractual details but it is also awaiting finalization of a plea bargain agreement by Odebrecht executives who are being investigated by the federal police under the Lava Jato corruption probe.

Brookfield hopes to close the deal by the end of the year, an unnamed source said, adding that the group is just waiting on details of the plea bargain as Odebrecht Ambiental could be negatively affected if it is said to have directly participated in the graft scheme, the paper reported.

Odebrecht Ambiental and Brookfield did not comment on the matter.

Odebrecht Ambiental holds 26 assets spread across Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Angola. According to the latest available data, the company posted some 2bn reais in revenues in 2014.

Odebrecht unit in Cachoeiro de Itapemerim, Espírito Santo (CREDIT: Odebrecht).

Earlier this year, Brookfield pulled out of a deal to buy the 24.4% stake that Brazilian engineering group OAS owns in local infrastructure firm Invepar for 1.2bn reais. It eventually withdrew its offer following last minute requests to change the decision-making powers of other Invepar shareholders such as pension funds Previ (Banco do Brasil), Petros (Petrobras) and Funcef (Caixa Econômica Federal).