Odebrecht to sell Peru pipeline to Brookfield: finance minister

Wed Dec 21, 2016 1:24pm EST
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By Marco Aquino

LIMA (Reuters) - Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht SA ODBES.UL is in advanced talks on selling its majority stake in a $5 billion natural gas pipeline project in Peru to Canada's Brookfield Asset Management Inc (BAMa.TO: Quote), Peru's Finance Minister Alfredo Thorne said in a televised interview.

The two companies and the government of Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski struck a deal Friday, Thorne said.

"We're about to close," Thorne told local journalist Jaime de Althaus in an interview late on Tuesday. "I think we'll be signing before the end of the year."

Techint Group would also join the project as a junior partner and would be tasked with construction, Thorne added.

Brookfield, Odebrecht and Techint declined to comment. Thorne did not respond to requests for comment.

Odebrecht is at the center of Brazil's biggest-ever graft scandal.

Worries about liability for corruption have snagged financing for the pipeline and Odebrecht's attempt to sell its 55 percent stake in the project as required by lenders.

Thorne said Brookfield agreed to keep an anti-corruption clause in the pipeline contract, a condition the government had been firm on but which had been a deal breaker for U.S.-based Sempra Energy (SRE.N: Quote) when it nearly bought Odebrecht's stake last month.   Continued...

A sign of the Odebrecht SA construction conglomerate is pictured in Lima, Peru, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Janine Costa