Petrobras on track for its £50.4bn sale

City A.M. Reporter
BRAZILIAN state oil company Petrobras has received more than enough investor interest to sell all the stock in the biggest share sale in history in an offer worth up to £50.4bn, two sources familiar with the situation said yesterday.

The offer is “comfortably oversubscribed” with strong investor demand, said one of the sources, though is probably not two times oversubscribed given the size of the deal.

A second source said heavy demand for shares was fuelled by the strong participation of state pension funds and institutional investors.

A large slice of the offer – £27bn – will go to the Brazilian government, the company’s controlling shareholder, in exchange for 5bn barrels of oil in the newly discovered pre-salt oilfields, so called because they are trapped under several kilometres of seawater, rock and a hard-to-penetrate layer of salt.

The company will use the proceeds to finance the world’s largest oil investment programme worth £143bn over the next five years.

The programme will focus on Brazil’s vast deep water crude deposits that the South American nation hopes will turn it into a major energy exporter.

The company plans to double current output to almost 5m barrels per day of oil equivalent by 2020.

The issue will also go to reinforcing Petrobras’s balance sheet to keep its indebtedness within its self-imposed limit of 35 per cent of equity, thereby safeguarding its valuable investment grade rating with the world’s leading credit rating agencies.

This month the firm filed to sell 1.59bn new preferred shares and 2.17bn new common shares - figures that do not include a “greenshoe” option that would expand the offer on extraordinary demand.

The “greenshoe” option could take the offering to as much as £50.4bn.