(Adds financial details and company background throughout)
By Luciano Costa and Tatiana Bautzer
SAO PAULO Dec 28 Brazil's state-run oil
company, Petroleo Brasileiro SA, on Wednesday
announced the sale of ethanol and petrochemicals assets for $587
million, but said it would still fall $1.5 billion short of its
divestment target for the 2015-2016 period.
Among the assets sold were its 46 percent stake in ethanol
producer Guarani SA, which was acquired for $202 million by its
French partner Tereos SA, which will now own all of
Petrobras, as the company is known, said it will also sell
its two petrochemical units in the northeastern state of
Pernambuco - Petroquimica Suape and Citepe - to Mexican group
Alpek SAB de CV subsidiaries Grupo Petrotemex SA de
CV and Dak Americas Exterior SL for $385 million.
Even after a flurry of asset sales this month, Petrobras
failed to meet its two-year divestment target of $15.1 billion.
The state oil company said in an emailed statement that a
court injunction this month blocking its negotiations to sell
the Tartaruga Verde and Bauna oilfields was to blame for missing
the goal. The company announced in October Karoon Gas Australia
Ltd was interested in these fields.
Petrobras said its 2017-2018 asset sale target would be
automatically raised to $21 billion to compensate for the
Petrobras is selling off noncore assets in a bid to reduce
its $125 billion debt, the largest in the global oil industry.
Last week, the company said it would sell $2.2 billion worth
of assets to France's Total SA, including stakes in
oilfields and two thermal power stations.
That announcement came a week after Petrobras sold its 49
percent stake in sugar and ethanol joint venture Nova Fronteira
Bioenergia SA to partner Sao Martinho SA for $133
million in shares.
Petrobras said the recent deals were exempted from the
ruling by Brazil's audit court on Dec. 7 that temporarily
suspended its asset sale program. These sales were allowed to
proceed because they were in advanced stages, the company said.
(Reporting by Luciano Costa, Tatiana Bautzer and Brad Brooks;
Editing by Daniel Flynn and Matthew Lewis)