March 20, 2012 / 5:57 PM / 6 years ago

Petrobras shareholders OK 16 pct cut in '12 budget

* 2012 budget 58.8 billion reais, down 16 pct from 2011

* Most of budget to be allocated to exploration, production

* Petrobras drawing up 2012-2016 business plan

SAO PAULO, March 20 (Reuters) - Shareholders in Brazil’s state-controlled oil company Petrobras approved a 16 percent reduction in capital spending budget plans for this year, as new Chief Executive Maria das Graças Foster seeks greater focus on exploration and production.

Petrobras will invest up to 58.8 billion reais ($32.3 billion) this year, down from a 2011 budget of 69.8 billion reais, the company said in a securities filing late on Monday.

The sum, approved in a general assembly meeting last week, does not include the budget for running Petrobras subsidiaries.

Petrobras’ press office said the number was an estimated amount that could change during the year.

Petrobras said in February it planned to invest 87.54 billion reais this year, including in companies it controls. The comparable 2011 figure was 72.5 billion reais.

With Foster at the helm of the government-controlled oil giant, Petrobras is in the process of drawing up its business plan for 2012-2016. Under the current 2011-2015 plan, the company forecast investments of $225 billion.

Most of the company’s 2012 budget -- 55.5 billion reais -- will come from its own funds, while 3.3 billion reais will be obtained from third parties.

Most of the spending will be focused on exploration and oil production, which will receive 59 percent of the total.

Shareholders also agreed on a total dividend for 2011 of 12 billion reais, equal to 0.92 reais per share.

Petrobras shares were down 1 percent to 24.13 reais at 1400 (1700 GMT) on Tuesday.

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