Brazil's Petrobras kicks off second bid to sell LPG gas unit

 Brazils Petrobras kicks off second bid to sell LPG gas unit

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazilian state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA said on Friday it had kicked off a second attempt to sell its liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) distribution unit after an initial deal last year was scuttled by antitrust concerns.

Petrobras, as the firm is known, said in a filing that it had begun the "teaser" phase for the sale of Liquigas Distribuidora SA, which provides potential bidders with basic information about the LPG distribution asset, and paves the way for formal bids.

In February, Reuters reported that Petrobras had hired the investment banking unit of Banco Santander Brasil SA to revive the sale.

Petrobras' management has made asset sales the core element of its bid to pay down debt and re-focus on exploration and production. Next week, the firm is due to receive final bids for its TAG pipeline unit, which is expected to fetch several billions dollars.

Petrobras had agreed in 2016 to sell Liquigas Distribuidora to local rival Ultrapar Participacoes SA in a process managed by the investment banking unit of Itau Unibanco Holding SA. But the 2.8 billion-real ($720 million) deal was blocked by Brazil's antitrust watchdog in February 2018.

Earlier this year, Reuters reported that the new sale process would likely focus on investment funds or private equity firms with oil and gas arms to avoid potential antitrust issues. Other bidders in 2016 included local rival Copagaz and Turkey's Aygaz AS.

According to Petrobras, Liquigas Distribuidora operates in 25 of 26 Brazilian states, with 23 operating centers and 4,800 authorized re-sellers.

($1 = 3.89 reais)

(Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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Updated Date: Mar 30, 2019 00:05:27 IST