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SAO PAULO, March 14 Construction conglomerate Odebrecht SA is close to announcing the sale of its stake in Rio de Janeiro's international airport to Canada's PSP Investments Inc, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.
The sale of Odebrecht's 60 percent stake in Rio de Janeiro's airport operator RioGaleão is expected to bring a solution to an impasse over debts with the Brazilian government.
RioGaleão, in which Singapore´s Changi Airports International Pte Ltd also has a stake, needs to pay around 4 billion reais ($1.26 billion) to the government to maintain rights over the terminal's management, the source said.
The value includes 1 billion reais in overdue payments to the federal government.
Development bank BNDES has refused to extend credit to the operator, controlled by Odebrecht's transportation unit, since the conglomerate became the largest target of the widest-ever corruption probe in Brazil three years ago.
Talks between Odebrecht and PSP Investments are in an advanced stage, said the source, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the information. The source declined to disclose the price.
In a statement to Reuters, Odebrecht's transportation unit said it is in contact with potential investors and is considering selling its stake in the airport.
Representatives for PSP declined to comment.
RioGaleão said in a statement, "There are still ongoing discussions to find a definitive solution to the business' sustainability."
Brazil's federal government will demand that the new shareholders provide fresh capital, the source said. According to the same source, a presidential decree authorizing a change in the schedule of debt repayment to the government may be issued soon. ($1 = 3.1725 reais) (Writing by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Leslie Adler)