October 30, 2017 / 8:53 PM / 2 months ago

Odebrecht says it wants to keep Braskem stake, following takeover report

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht SA said on Monday that it wants to keep Braskem SA (BRKM5.SA) in its investment portfolio, after a report that LyondellBasell Industries NV (LYB.N) had approached the petrochemicals producer about a potential takeover.

Odebrecht, which has been targeted by corruption investigations in Brazil and elsewhere in Latin America, also said that it is “working on alternatives to create value for Braskem and all its shareholders.”

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that the LyondellBasell approach valued Braskem, in which Odebrecht has a 38.1 percent stake, at more than $10 billion.

Since getting implicated in the corruption probes, Odebrecht has sold assets in Brazil and Latin America, including a waste and water company, a stake in Rio de Janeiro’s airport and a hydroelectric dam in Peru to repay debt. But it has said it considers Braskem a “core asset.”

Odebrecht is Braskem’s controlling shareholder with a 38 percent stake and the majority of voting stock. Brazilian state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4.SA) holds a 36 percent stake.

Petrobras, as the oil company is known, tried to sell its stake last year, but sources told Reuters that investors were not interested in becoming minority investors in an Odebrecht-controlled company.

    Both companies have declared publicly they are revising their shareholders’ agreement. A committee within Braskem is considering whether to convert its different classes of stock into a single, common one.

    Braskem preferred shares soared following the report about a possible takeover, closing up 12 percent at an all-time high of 53.25 reais per share.

    Petrobras declined to comment on The Wall Street Journal report, as did Braskem itself.

    Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Christian Plumb and Leslie Adler

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