* EBX extends drive to bolster troubled resource companies
* Petrobras sought $5 bln for Nigeria assets alone -Reuters
* Pactual lends hand to Petrobras after backstopping EBX
By Jeb Blount
RIO DE JANEIRO, June 14 Brazil's Banco BTG
Pactual SA continued a drive that has snapped up assets in
troubled Brazilian resource companies by agreeing to buy 50
percent of an African business owned by state-run oil company
Petroleo Brasileiro SA, the companies said on Friday.
BTG Pactual agreed to pay $1.53 billion for 50
percent of Petrobras' Petrobras Oil & Gas BV which
has offices in Angola, Benin, Gabon and Namibia and operations
in Nigeria and Tanzania, the statement said.
Petrobras had hoped to sell the Nigeria assets alone for as
much as $5 billion, Reuters reported on March 13.
"The operations represents an important step for Petrobras
in its asset-sale program, allowing it to increase its
activities in Africa and the sharing of investments needed to
expand and develop its resources," a statement from Petrobras
BTG Pactual, the high-flying Brazilian investment bank
founded and led by billionaire Andre Esteves, has taken
advantage of sluggish world demand for commodities, soaring
project development costs and rising corporate debt to buy
assets or sell investment-banking services to cash-strapped
In March, BTG Pactual formed a partnership with Brazilian
billionaire Eike Batista's troubled EBX Group, offering loans
and helping its oil, mining, shipbuilding, port and electricity
Petrobras finds its revenue squeezed by falling output,
delays at new fields and government-ordered fuel subsidies.
These problems have made it hard to finance a $237 billion
five-year investment plan, the world's largest
Instead, the company has been forced to increase debt above
its self-imposed limits and try to sell assets.
While it had hoped to sell $14.8 billion of Brazilian and
international assets over five years, a lack of interest and low
offers forced it to cut its estimate nearly 40 percent to $9
billion earlier this year.
Reuters reported on March 13 that Petrobras was trying to
sell its Nigerian assets alone for $5 billion. Pactual's
purchase of 50 percent of the Nigerian assets plus a half-stake
in offices and operations in five other countries weighs in at
less than a third of the $5 billion goal.
Petrobras also said in a second statement Friday that it is
restructuring its petrochemical holdings by incorporating five
petrochemical subsidiaries into the parent company.
The incorporation will not involve any sale of new stock in
the companies, Petrobras said.
In a third statement, Petrobras said it was selling its 49
percent stake in Brasil PCH SA, a company that operates 13 small
hydroelectric dams with 291 megawatts of capacity, to Cia
Energética de Minas Gerais for 650 million reais