Petrobras Said to Open Bids for Argentine Assets Jan. 14

Petroleo Brasileiro SA will open bids for assets in Argentina on Jan. 14 as Brazil’s state-controlled oil company raises funds for deep-water discoveries, said a company official with knowledge of the sale.

Petrobras, as the Rio de Janeiro-based producer is known, restructured its Argentine holdings, including Petrobras Argentina SA, to separate oil-related assets from other assets before a possible sale, said the official, who can’t be identified because he isn’t authorized to speak publicly.

Chief Executive Officer Maria das Gracas Foster is seeking to raise $14.8 billion through a divestment process as part of a plan to develop oil reserves that may hold as much as 50 billion barrels under the bed of the Atlantic ocean.

Petrobras’s press office declined to comment on the Argentine assets in an e-mailed response to questions. The company official didn’t identify bidders.

Bank of Nova Scotia and Madrid-based law firm Garrigues advised Petrobras on the valuation and restructuring of Petrobras Participaciones SL, the Spanish holding company for Petrobras Argentina SA and Petrobras’s stakes in ethane producer Cia. Mega SA and Colombian assets, said the official. After the restructuring, Petrobras Argentina will be PPSL’s sole asset as the rest are moved to separate holdings, he said.

Scotiabank doesn’t “comment on rumors in the market,” Joe Konecny, a bank press officer, said in an e-mailed response to questions. Carlos Agrasar, head of Garrigues’s press office, also declined to comment in an e-mail.

Petrobras Argentina slid 1.8 percent to 3.25 pesos in Buenos Aires trading today, reducing a year-to-date gain to 5 percent. Argentina’s benchmark index rose 13 percent this year.

YPF SA, Argentina’s largest energy company, will bid for any assets Petrobras wants to sell in Argentina, a YPF official, who can’t be named because of company policy, said Dec. 12. At the time, Alejandro Di Lazzaro, a YPF spokesman, declined to comment in an e-mail response to questions.

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