Pampa offers Petrobras about $1.2 billion for its Argentine unit

Wed Mar 2, 2016 1:30pm EST
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By Nicolas Misculin and Jeb Blount

BUENOS AIRES/RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Argentina's Pampa Energia SA offered Brazilian state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA about $1.2 billion to buy its 67.2 percent stake in Petrobras Argentina SA, a source with direct knowledge of the bid said on Wednesday.

The board of Petrobras (PETR4.SA: Quote), as the Brazilian company is known, has approved exclusive talks with Pampa (PAM.BA: Quote) for up to 60 days. The discussions were announced earlier on Wednesday in a Brazilian securities filing.

Petrobras Argentina (PER.BA: Quote) is among the four largest producers of oil and gas in the South American country and has extensive downstream operations, including refining, petrochemicals and electricity generation.

A final deal should be complete within two months, said the source, who requested anonymity because a final accord has not been signed.

"There is an agreement on the figure," the source said. "I don't see anything cumbersome to work out. Now it's the work of lawyers."

Petrobras preferred shares rose 2.82 percent in Sao Paulo in afternoon trading to 5.46 reais, on track for its highest close in seven weeks. Pampa fell 3.94 percent, in Buenos Aires, its biggest one-day drop in six weeks, and Petrobras Argentina rose 2.55 percent.

The proposed transaction comes at a key time for Petrobras and Pampa. If completed, the sale will be one of the first major deals in Petrobras' eight-month old plan to sell $15.1 billion of assets by the end of 2016.

Petrobras Chief Executive Officer Aldemir Bendine has said the company needs to sell the assets to shore up its troubled finances and pay debt of about $130 billion, the world oil industry's largest.   Continued...

The Brazil's state-run Petrobras oil company headquarters is pictured in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, January 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes/Files