Brazil Orders Four Naval Frigates
A consortium formed by Germany’s Thyssenkrupp AG and Brazilian planemaker Embraer SA signed a deal on Thursday to deliver four frigates to Brazil’s navy between 2025 and 2028, the companies said in a statement.The contract signed in Rio de Janeiro is part of Brazil’s drive to modernize its navy so it can patrol off-shore resources in the Atlantic, such as Brazil’s vast pre-salt oil reserves.The companies did not disclose the price tag. The Brazilian navy website said the four-ship program will cost about $2 billion.Last year…
Amazon's Pink Dolphins Threatened by End of Fishing Ban
The Amazon river dolphin is an intelligent and friendly mammal that appears to grin and flush like a human blushing when it gets excited.But some are concerned about the world's largest freshwater dolphin coming under threat again in Brazil, where fishermen hunt and kill it illegally to make bait for a catfish called piracatinga.A legal moratorium on fishing the piracatinga ended last month, prompting calls for its renewal from environmentalists and researchers such as biologist Vera da Silva…
Brazil Minimum Freight Rates Hurt Port Cargos -Association Chief
Brazil's policy of setting minimum freight rates is reducing the volume of cargo at Brazilian ports as farmers and agricultural exporters have difficulty arranging transportation at higher cost, according to the head of a Brazilian ports association.The country instituted minimum rates for freight above the previous market rate as part of a deal to end a truckers' strike over high diesel prices in May. The strike paralyzed the country's roadways, preventing agriculture exports…
Brazil Drops 'Railway to the Pacific' Plan
Brazil has shelved a planned railway to ship commodities destined for China through Peru as it was too costly and faced "absurd" engineering challenges, a Brazilian official said. The 5,000-km (3,300-mile) railway over the Andes to the Pacific coast, announced during a visit by President Xi Jinping in 2014, was meant to speed up soybean and iron ore exports to China at a lower cost by bypassing the Panama Canal. But at an estimated cost of $80 billion, the railway would not be commercially viable if it transported just commodities and not more valuable goods…
Brazil Gives SBM Ultimatum in $250M Bribery Settlement
Brazil has told Dutch SBM Offshore NV, the world's top oil production ship leaser, to agree soon to a $250 million bribery settlement if it wants to regain its biggest client in the world's largest oilship market, a government source told Reuters. The ultimatum gives SBM several days to sign a leniency deal that includes financial reparation and other clauses such as cooperation with a corruption investigation. The settlement, which has been under negotiation for months, would lift a ban on the Amsterdam-based firm from bidding for new business with Petrobras, Brazil's state-run oil company. A spokeswoman for SBM declined to comment on the ongoing discussions with Brazilian authorities.
Brazil's Rousseff Launches Massive Infrastructure Program
President Dilma Rousseff unveiled a concession program on Tuesday to draw 198.4 billion reais ($64 billion) in private investment over five years to upgrade and operate Brazilian roads, railways, airports and harbor terminals. The logistics plan includes 4,371 kilometers of new highways, the extension of existing railway concessions and the private operation of airports in the cities of Porto Alegre, Fortaleza, Salvador and Florianopolis, according to a government presentation. The new concessions will have access to less state bank financing in the midst of Brazil's current drive to cut spending and reduce a bulging fiscal deficit. Bidders will be expected to partially fund projects with private financing.
Petrobras Scandal About to Hit Brazil's Political Class
Brazil's top prosecutor is expected to file charges in coming days against politicians implicated in the Petrobras corruption scandal, a political bombshell that could involve members of Congress and President Dilma Rousseff's government. Under Brazilian law, lawmakers and cabinet members can only be tried by the Supreme Court. Prosecutor Rodrigo Janot has said he plans to file cases with the court by the end of the month against politicians involved in the graft scheme at Petrobras. Prosecutors say corrupt executives from Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as the company is formally known, conspired with contractors to misappropriate billions of dollars from the company. Some of the funds were funneled to politicians and political parties, the prosecutors say.
Petrobras Delays Results as Corruption Scandal Grows
Brazil's state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA said it delayed the release of its third-quarter financial results for a second time on Friday as a result of new developments in a widening corruption probe. Prosecutors on Thursday indicted executives of some of the country's largest engineering firms for allegedly skimming billions of dollars off overpriced contracts with the oil giant in a kickback and bribery scheme. Petrobras had set Friday as a deadline for the release, but it said in a statement it has until Jan. 15, 2015, to present the unaudited results without breaking covenants. If broken, the covenants could put some of the company's debt into technical default, forcing early repayment.
Japan PM Tells Brazil Time to do More Business
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe touted the success of his economic policies on a visit to Brazil on Friday and said it was time for the two nations to expand their trade and investment partnership. On the first visit to Brazil in a decade by a Japanese prime minister, Japanese banks extended $700 million in loans to boost Brazilian soy and corn exports to Japan and build ship platforms for Brazil's burgeoning offshore oil industry. Abe told Brazilian business leaders that Japan has closed a 15-year deflation cycle since his stimulus policies began to kick in and there is great potential to expand trade and investment with Latin America's biggest economy. "With Japan growing again, we can grow with other nations," he said in comments to executives translated by an interpreter.
Japan Loans Petrobras $500m to Build Ship Platforms
Brazil's state-controlled oil company Petrobras signed on Friday a $500 million loan from Japan to build eight ship platforms for the oil industry, as part of the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Brazil. Japan will also help Brazil's state development bank BNDES promote investment by small and medium-sized companies in Brazil through its bank for international cooperation, JBIC, according to another deal signed in the Brazilian presidential palace. (Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Writing by Silvio Cascione; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)
China, Brazil Close Plane, Finance, Infrastructure Deals
China and Brazil sealed their expanding commercial partnership on Thursday with a $5 billion credit line for Brazilian miner Vale and the purchase of 60 passenger jets from Brazilian planemaker Embraer. In a raft of energy, finance and industry accords signed before presidents Xi Jinping and Dilma Rousseff, the two nations agreed to join forces to build railways to help Brazil cut its infrastructure deficit and feed China's appetite for commodities. Trade between China and Brazil soared to $83.3 billion last year from $3.2 billion in 2002, with iron ore, soy and oil making up the bulk of Brazilian exports, making China the South American nation's biggest trade partner.
China Seeks to Build Shipping Railways in Brazil
Brazil hopes that during a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping it can boost ties with its biggest trade partner beyond the exchange of commodities for manufactured goods, but that may be wishful thinking. Accords China will sign with Brazil when Xi meets with President Dilma Rousseff on Thursday focus on improving infrastructure to make sure raw materials China is hungry for make it to port, with railways a top priority. Brazilian officials are portraying Xi's state visit as a milestone in deepening a strategic partnership that will lead to Chinese investments in Brazil's manufacturing industry. Trade between China and Brazil soared to $83.3 billion last year from $3.2 billion in 2002, with iron ore, soy and oil making up the bulk of Brazilian exports.
Brazil Senate Examining Petrobras Scandal
Brazil's Senate opened an inquiry on Wednesday into alleged corruption and mismanagement at state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, a probe that could complicate President Dilma Rousseff's bid for reelection in October. A panel of senators will look into the costly purchase of a refinery in Pasadena, Texas, for which critics say Petrobras paid 20 times the market value. The senators will also probe allegations that Petrobras officials took bribes in exchange for steering contracts to SBM Offshore NV…
Reports: Brazilian Tycoon Batista Investigated For Financial Crimes
Brazils federal police have opened an investigation into former billionaire Eike Batista for financial crimes, including insider trading, manipulation of markets and money laundering, Brazilian media reported on Friday. If the police probe leads to criminal charges against Batista, it would be yet another major blow for a businessman once hailed as Brazil's model entrepreneur and symbol of its economic success. Batistas EBX oil, mining and logistics empire, which two years ago was valued at $60 billion, collapsed last year in a mountain of debt and massive filings for bankruptcy protection. A week ago, Brazil's securities commission…
Brazil Election Jitters May Hit Investments in 2014
Brazil's presidential vote will likely delay some investment decisions this year but spending on infrastructure is expected to remain strong, a senior government official told Reuters. Although President Dilma Rousseff is the favorite to win the Oct. 5 general election, many investors could withhold funds until the next government outlines its plans for the following four years, which could hamper the country's already slow economic growth. "It is obvious that businesses will delay some investments until after the election to have more clarity," said the official, who asked not to be named because he is not allowed to speak publicly.