By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Moving forward with its divestment plan and Petrobras officials announced last week the sale of its Chilean subsidiary, PCD, to private equity firm Southern Cross Group for more than US$460 million. PCD is a fuel distribution company in Chile with 279 gas stations, eight distribution terminals, operations at eleven airports, participation in two logistics companies, and one lubricant plant.
This is the latest effort by Petrobras to reduce costs and increase cash flow. The cash-strapped company announced last January it was reducing by 25 percent, or US$32 billion, its investments until 2019 due to the persistent decline of international oil prices, the appreciation of the U.S. dollar in relation to the Brazilian real and the deteriorating Brazilian economy.
The company’s new CEO, Pedro Parente, promised during his swearing in ceremony in June, to restore Petrobras’ credibility and recover its economic, financial and social responsibilities. At that time Parente said that Petrobras would be selling off assets which were of no economic interest to the company.
At the beginning of July Brazil’s petroleum regulating agency, ANP (National Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuel Agency) authorized Petrobras to interrupt its oil production in sixteen platforms and fourteen concessions. The company is also said to be analyzing three proposals for the sale of 25 percent participation in another of its subsidiaries, BR Distribuidora.
The Southern Cross Group was founded in 1998, and focuses on investments in Latin America, especially companies in the industrial, service, logistics and consumer goods sectors.