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By Gabriel Araujo
SAO PAULO, July 25 (Reuters) - Brazil’s state-run oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA expects to privatize natural gas distribution unit Liquigás next month as part of a broader divestment program, Chief Executive Roberto Castello Branco said on Thursday.
Final binding offers for Liquigás are due by Aug. 7, Castello Branco told journalists in Sao Paulo, where he was formalizing a share offering that sold about a third of fuel distribution unit Petrobras Distribuidora SA this week.
That share sale, which effectively privatized the country’s biggest gas station chain, brought total divestments at Petrobras, as the oil major is known, to $15 billion and Castello Branco said “there is a lot more to come.”
Liquigás is 100% owned by Petrobras and last year had revenue of 5.6 billion reais ($1.48 billion). The gas distribution company has 20 million clients and 5,000 points of sale in Brazil.
An earlier attempt to sell the natural gas unit was blocked by antitrust agency Cade, which cited competition concerns to reject an agreement to sell Liquigás to Brazil’s Grupo Ultra.
$1 = 3.7896 reais Reporting by Gabriel Araújo Writing by Ana Mano Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Tom Brown