SAO PAULO, Oct 17 (Reuters) - French sugar group Tereos is interested in buying back a 45 percent minority stake in seven of its Brazilian-based sugar and ethanol plants from the state-run Petrobras, Jacyr Costa Filho, head of Tereos’ local operations, said on Monday.
“We know these assets well, we understand their potential, so if they indeed decide to leave the business we are interested,” said Costa on the sidelines of Datagro’s sugar and ethanol conference in Sao Paulo.
The official said Petroleo Brasileiro SA has not officially informed Tereos about its willingness to end the partnership, despite having heard the news last month regarding the oil company’s new strategy that includes exiting biofuels production.
“They have not approached us yet. But they said in the announcement that the idea is to leave the sector in 2017, so it is still early,” Costa added.
Tereos has first rights over any potential Petrobras sale of the stake in its sugar and ethanol business.
“If Petrobras finds a buyer, it will have to extend to us the same conditions, and we will decide. I believe we will reach a good agreement,” said Costa.
Petrobras has other assets in the biofuels sector in Brazil, including shares in two other ethanol groups and in biodiesel installations.
In September, Petrobras said it would exit the biofuels sector, as the heavily indebted company seeks to prioritize investment in crude oil and natural gas production.
Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Reese Ewing and Frances Kerry