Petrobras Said to Delay Argentina Sale Amid Brazil Probe

Petroleo Brasileiro SA is delaying its exit from Argentina’s petrochemical business as it focuses on a graft case in Brazil, two people familiar with the process said.

Petrobras, as the Rio de Janeiro-based producer is known, received a joint offer for its 34 percent stake in Cia. Mega SA from partners YPF SA and Dow Chemical Co., said the people, who asked not to be named because the talks are private. Buenos Aires-based YPF owns 38 percent of Mega and Dow has 28 percent.

An expanding investigation into Brazilian contractors that allegedly bribed Petrobras officials is cutting off its access to debt markets, slowing signing of new contracts and has helped push down the stock by 63 percent since September. Mega had 1.9 billion pesos ($222 million) in sales last year.

Alejandro Di Lazzaro, a YPF spokesman, declined to comment when contacted by phone. Petrobras’ press office declined to comment in an e-mail.

Dow “does not comment on rumor or speculation in the marketplace,” spokeswoman Rachelle Schikorra said in an e-mailed statement.

The Brazilian oil producer, which operates Mega, began marketing assets in Argentina -- including a refinery, petrochemical plants and oil and gas fields -- in March as part of a global divestment plan intended to focus on its Brazilian oil fields.

Petrobras rose 3.3 percent to 9.48 reais at 4:03 p.m. in Sao Paulo.

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