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Petrobras Sells $1.8 Billion in Assets to Esteves’ BTG, Cemig

Petroleo Brasileiro SA, the world’s most indebted oil company, sold $1.83 billion in assets to billionaire Andre Esteves’ Banco BTG Pactual SA and to Cia. Energetica de Minas Gerais as it seeks to raise cash.

Petrobras, as the state-controlled Brazilian oil producer is known, sold 50 percent of a unit holding African assets to BTG for $1.53 billion, the company said in a statement today. The unit, which includes Petrobras’ operations in Angola, Benin, Gabon, Namibia, Nigeria and Tanzania, will work as a joint venture between the the Brazilian investment bank to explore and produce oil and gas in the region, it said.

“The operation represents an important step for Petrobras’ divestment program,” the Rio de Janeiro-based company said in a statement after the close of trading. The partnership with BTG will allow “the expansion of its operations in Africa and the sharing of investments required.”

Petrobras is selling lower-return assets and raising funds to develop as much as 31 billion barrels of oil deposits. The company in May sold $11 billion of bonds, increasing total debt to $97.4 billion, more than any other publicly traded oil company, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Petrobras said in a separate statement it sold a 49 percent stake in hydroelectric generator Brasil PCH SA to Cemig, as the country’s second-biggest power utility is known, for 650 million reais ($302 million). Brasil PCH operates 13 small hydroelectric plants with an installed capacity of 291 megawatts.

Shares of Petrobras lost 3.9 percent to 18.06 reais in Sao Paulo trading today, the biggest decline since April 15. The stock fell 7.5 percent in 2013, outperforming the 19 percent decline of the Brazilian Ibovespa index.

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