Brazil's Antitrust Body Postpones Deadline for Petrobras Asset Sales

SAO PAULO (Reuters) — Brazil's antitrust authority CADE has postponed deadlines for divestitures by state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, including its refineries, natural gas pipelines and its stakes in natural gas distribution companies.

Refineries Isaac Sabba, REFAP and Lubnor may be sold by July 31st. The sale of RNEST, SIX and REGAP needs to be concluded by Oct. 30 and REPAR needs to be sold by Dec. 31.

The new deadlines were requested by the company, known as Petrobras, which argued the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the sale processes. CADE agreed on Wednesday to postpone the deadlines.

Brazil's antitrust watchdog also allowed Petrobras to sell its stakes in natural gas distribution companies by June and to finish the divestiture of the residual stake in gas pipeline company NTS by April.

Petrobras had agreed in 2019 to sell its refinery assets as a condition to close a probe on antitrust allegations that it was abusing its dominant business position in the refining market. The company agreed to sell eight refineries, including the fuel transportation infrastructure.

That same year, Petrobras also agreed to divest from natural gas assets, to end separate investigations that alleged anticompetitive behavior. Both agreements intend to bring new players into the markets, currently dominated by the state-controlled company.

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