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Petrobras-Pampa Energia Sale Talks Extended by 30 Days

Petroleo Brasileiro SA PBR, one of the largest integrated energy firms in Latin America, announced that it has extended discussions for a month with Pampa Energia regarding the sale of its 67.2% stake in subsidiary, Petrobras Argentina.

Per Reuters, Pampa Energia – the largest electricity company in Argentina – had offered about $1.2 billion to purchase the stake in Petrobras Argentina last month. Petrobras’ board of directors had approved the deal with Pampa Energia for a period of 30 days with an option to extend the discussion for another 30 days, if required. It is this extension option that the company exercised this week.

Crude oil price has nosedived from the $100 per barrel mark and has kept sliding since Jun 2014 to the current trading level of around $39 per barrel. The negative impact of oil price slump and changes in management because of the Brazilian energy behemoth’s corruption scandal, have resulted in the company’s dwindling operating cash flows and return on equity. It has also exposed the company to high debt-management risk.

Petrobras sees selling its stake in the Argentine subsidiary as a means to improve finances and to meet debt obligations of about $130 billion. The deal, if completed, will be one of the first major deals in Petrobras' eight-month old plan to sell assets worth $15.1 billion by the end of this year.

Headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Petrobras boasts healthy production growth and has announced several important discoveries, of late. Petrobras Argentina owns assets that include a refinery, gasoline stations, drilling rights for several oil and gas fields and stakes in electricity companies.

Petrobras sports a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), implying that the stock will perform in line with the broader U.S. equity market over the next one to three months.

Some better-ranked stocks in the same sector are Sasol Ltd. SSL, OMV Aktiengesellschaft OMVJF and PetroChina Co. Ltd. PTR. All these stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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