Brazil's Petrobras to pay $3.25 million to aid troubled Games
By Jeb Blount
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazilian oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA said on Wednesday it will spend 10.5 million reais ($3.25 million) to buy marketing rights to the financially troubled Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games.
The decision allows Petrobras, as the state-controlled company is known, to become an official sponsor of the event about a week before it is set to begin on Sept. 7. Petrobras joins companies such as Toyota Motor Co, BP Plc, Visa and Samsung in getting marketing benefits in exchange for financial support.
Reuters reported on Aug. 18 that Petrobras was willing to buy marketing rights valued in the "low millions" of dollars to help the Paralympics.
The Games, which feature athletes with physical and mental disabilities, was forced to make budget cuts as the city and state of Rio de Janeiro, mired in a major Brazilian recession, struggled to pay the 40 billion reais ($12.4 billion) price tag for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics.
Petrobras' money brings 205 million reais ($92 million) in extra funds Games organizers can draw on, said Mario Andrada the games communication director on a conference call on Wednesday.
The bulk, 150 million reais, is from the City of Rio de Janeiro. The rest, 55 million reais is from Petrobras, the lottery unit of Caixa Economica Federal, a Brazilian government bank, and Apex, Brazil's Trade and Investment Promotion Agency.
Petrobras, which is facing financial difficulties of its own and has debt of nearly $125 billion, was one of several state-owned or controlled companies asked by the government to help meet the Paralympic shortfall.
Petrobras' money will come from its existing 98 million real sports budget for 2016. Continued...