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Healthcare

UPDATE 3-Brazil financial watchdog probes Minerva CFO comments that roiled shares

(New throughout, adds CVM investigating the matter)

SAO PAULO, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Brazilian securities watchdog CVM said on Thursday it was investigating comments by a top executive of Minerva SA on social media and in a newspaper that sent shares of the meatpacker on a wild ride this week.

On Thursday, Minerva shares were down 11.5% near market close, at 8.79 reais, the second largest drop among stocks in benchmark index Bovespa.

On Wednesday, they had jumped 14%, a day after Minerva CFO Edison Ticle spoke about a potential delisting or share buyback in a live webcast on Instagram led by Rafael Ferri, a shareholder in social trading app TC TradersClub.

On Wednesday, newspaper Valor Economico reported that shareholders in Minerva were considering a delisting and quoted Ticle on the matter. Later, the CFO confirmed in a statement to Reuters the company was considering the issue.

“Clearly there is an opportunity in Minerva shares, as the market looks very superficially at the company´s results. ... We are considering all potential alternatives but we have nothing concrete so far,” Ticle said a statement to Reuters on Wednesday evening.

But around 11 p.m. on Wednesday, the company sent a securities filing denying a delisting.

In a statement to Reuters, the regulator said the participation of Ticle in an Instagram live is being investigated in a probe under the number 19957.006435/2021-20.

On Thursday, after CVM announced the probe, Minerva sent a new securities filing saying Ticle had spoken on social media “in a hypothetical manner” and never referred to concrete transactions.

In a note to clients, BTG analysts led by Thiago Duarte said “for a company whose dividends have just now become a reality after years working to deleverage the balance sheet (...) using cash to re-lever it so significantly doesn’t make much sense.” (Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer and Paula Laier; additional reporting by Nayara Figueiredo; editing by Jonathan Oatis, Aurora Ellis and David Gregorio)

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