Court suspends sale of Petrobras petchem units

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A Brazilian court has suspended the sale of two petrochemical units by state-run oil company Petrobras due to alleged competition breaches.

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In a statement on Tuesday, Petrobras said it would challenge the federal court injunction blocking the US$385mn sale of Petroquímica Suape and Citepe to subsidiaries of Mexican group Alpek.

The public interest suit, filed by oil union members, claims Petrobras is selling the assets without a competitive bidding process.

"Petrobras is taking legal measures to protect [our] interests and those of investors," the Rio de Janeiro-based company said.

The order follows a raft of other court injunctions blocking the sale of Petrobras assets due to alleged competition breaches.

Among them is a suspension of the sale of the Tartaruga Verde and Baúna offshore fields to Karoon Gas Australia.

Racked by a corruption scandal, Petrobras is selling non-core assets to focus on ultra-deepwater production off Brazil's southeast coast.

The company has received US$13.6bn from divestments over the past two years and plans to raise a further US$21bn this year and next.