Biggest FPO: Brazil firm raises $70 bn | business | Hindustan Times
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Biggest FPO: Brazil firm raises $70 bn

Brazilian state oil company Petrobras raised $70 billion (R3.2 lakh crore) on Thursday in the world's biggest share offering, giving the company the financial muscle it needs to tap vast offshore oil reserves.

business Updated: Sep 24, 2010 22:27 IST

Brazilian state oil company Petrobras raised $70 billion (R3.2 lakh crore) on Thursday in the world's biggest share offering, giving the company the financial muscle it needs to tap vast offshore oil reserves.

The Rio de Janeiro-based company sold 1.87 billion new preferred shares at 26.30 reais each ($1=1.72 reais), the company said in a regulatory filing. It sold 2.4 billion new common — or voting — shares at 29.65 reais each.

The cash will help fund the world's largest oil exploration plan, which at $224 billion for the 2010-2014 period aims to turn Brazil into a major energy exporter.

Uncertainty that the offering might not come off had brought a prolonged sell-off of Petrobras shares that shaved more than $70 billion off its market value. But the optimism displayed by investors seeking exposure to one of the world's largest oil finds in recent decades outweighed worries about growing state involvement in the company's affairs.

"The deal priced at a very tight discount, which is comforting to know because the market expected it to price lower," said Marcio Macedo, who manages about $40 million of stocks for Sao Paulo-based Humaita Investimentos.

The record-setting stock offering, which was larger than what the company originally planned but fell short of the maximum it had filed to sell, had total demand of $140 billion. The bids included $98 billion from existing shareholders and $42 billion from institutional investors, a source with knowledge of the transaction said.

Sovereign wealth funds from the Middle East and Asia were among the investors buying into the offering, the source said on condition of anonymity.

The offering had "tremendous demand" from US mutual funds, the source added.

Petrobras said in the filing that it may sell another 188 million new shares to meet demand in the next 30 days.

Government Sway

Some analysts complained that the oil-for-shares swap with the government was dilutive to private shareholders because the oil was valued at a higher price than investors expected.

Others said the company was spending too much on refining, transportation and distribution, which offer greater benefits for local economies but lower returns for shareholders.