BRASILIA, April 29 (Reuters) - Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management Inc is in advanced talks to buy a controlling stake in the water and sewage unit of Brazilian engineering conglomerate Grupo Odebrecht for up to 6 billion reais ($1.72 billion), newspaper Valor Econômico said on Friday.
Valor, citing sources with knowledge of the talks, said the unit also attracted interest from several French groups. Odebrecht and Brookfield representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comments.
Grupo Odebrecht, the largest of local engineering firms implicated in a sweeping corruption probe at oil producer Petróleo Brasileiro SA and other state companies, wants to sell 12 billion reais in assets to reduce debt.
The scandal, which sent the family member who ran Grupo Odebrecht to prison, has curtailed access to capital markets and loan funding for the company’s 15 subsidiaries.
Odebrecht owns 70 percent of the unit, known as Odebrecht Ambiental, with a fund managed by state lender Caixa Econômica Federal owning the remaining 30 percent.
$1 = 3.4842 Brazilian reais Reporting by Silvio Cascione; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn