Image courtesy of Petrobras/Facebook.

Brazil’s Petrobras has sold a majority stake in natural gas pipeline operator Nova Transportadora do Sudeste (NTS) for just over $5 billion.

According to Platts, the Petrobras board of directors has approved the sale of the NTS stake to a consortium led by Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management.

The consortium paid about $5.2 billion for a 90 percent stake in the pipeline operator, the Wall Street Journal said.

The consortium will pay $4.34 billion when the purchase closes and an additional $850 million in five years.

Two sovereign wealth funds, China’s CIC Capital Corp and Singapore’s GIC Private, are also members of the purchasing consortium.

Brookfield Infrastructure Partners will invest at least 20 percent of the deal’s ticket price and Brookfield Asset Management will make an initial investment of about 30 percent, Reuters said.

Petrobras’ general manager for natural gas Rodrigo Costa told Reuters that Petrobras will not have exclusive access to the NTS pipelines.

The consortium hopes to close the deal in December.

The pipelines will be operated by an unspecified Petrobras subsidiary under a multiyear contract, the Wall Street Journal said.

NTS operates just over 1,200 miles of pipelines that transports gas produced in Brazil and Bolivia to Brazil’s south-central region.

State-owned Petrobras told Reuters that the sale will not impact existing natural gas contracts.

The sale is part of a broader plan to generate $19.5 billion through partnerships and divestitures as the company focuses on reducing its costs and debt.

Petrobras said it hopes to reduce its net debt equivalent to 2.5 times its cash generation level in 2018.

The company’s net debt equivalent hit 5.3 times its cash generation level in 2015.

“In the next couple years, we will concentrate on recovering Petrobras’ financial strength as an integrated energy company that is focused on oil and gas,” CEO Pedro Parente said.


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