HRT Surges in Sao Paulo Trading on Deal to Sell Air Amazonia

HRT Participacoes em Petroleo SA, a Brazilian oil and gas exploration company, rose the most in a month after agreeing to sell its Air Amazonia carrier to Erickson Air-Crane for as much as $75 million.

Shares of HRT advanced 5.3 percent to 3.78 reais at the close of trading in Sao Paulo, the biggest gain since Feb. 1. The benchmark Bovespa index added 1.6 percent.

HRT expects to complete the deal as early as late March, Chief Executive Officer Marcio Mello said in a phone interview. The company plans to sell the carrier for $65 million and will get an additional $10 million in 2016 if it renews a three-year contract with Erickson to transport oil equipment to the Solimoes basin in the Amazon and meets minimum payments for services, he said.

“We are getting together with very reliable guys,” Mello said from Las Vegas, where he was attending a trade show. “Adding $65 million to $75 million to my cash is very important.”

The sale will help to ease the pressure on HRT’s balance sheet, Paula Kovarsky and Diego Mendes, analysts at Itau BBA, wrote today in a research note to clients. The analysts cited HRT’s lack of oil discoveries and high spending as concerns. Itau expects the deal to close in the second quarter.

The Rio de Janeiro-based explorer plans to start drilling a new well in the Amazon and its first well in Namibia this month, Mello said.

HRT fell 20 percent this year, while the Bovespa declined 3.5 percent during the same period.

(Updates with closing prices in second paragraph.)
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