Challenges in Brazil Could Benefit Tanker Markets
Brazil stays in the spotlight - Tanker Research & Consulting department at Poten & Partners takes a look at the tanker market in the country. The Rio Olympics were successfully concluded on August 21. Ten days later, on Wednesday, August 31, Brazil’s Senate voted 61-20 to remove Dilma Rousseff as president of the most populous country in Latin America. Ms. Rousseff was accused of using illegal bookkeeping maneuvers to cover up a growing budget deficit. Interim president (and former vice president) Michel Temer will finish out her term, which runs through the end of 2018.
Sembcorp Profit Halved as Clients Defer Projects
Revenue falls 30 pct; order book at S$9.7 billion. Singapore rig-builder Sembcorp Marine's quarterly profit halved as customers deferred projects, and it faces prolonged uncertainty on contracts from its biggest client, Sete Brasil, whose shareholders have approved its bankruptcy. Sembcorp Marine posted a profit of S$55 million ($41 million) for the three months ended March 31, compared with a profit of S$106 million a year ago. Sembcorp Marine and its cross-town rival Keppel Corp have been hit by slumping orders as oil prices dropped nearly 60 percent since mid-2014. Exacerbating the situation are troubles at Sete Brasil, a company set up by corruption-battered Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras).
Enseda Shipbuilding & Surviving the Petrobras Crisis
Enseada Shipbuilding was established to build deepwater drillships for Petrobras. Seventy percent of the company is owned by a consortium composed of Brazilian companies, Odebrecht (50 percent), OAS (25 percent), UTC (25 percent), with the remaining 30 percent belonging to Japanese shipbuilding giant, Kawasaki Heavy Industry (KHI). With all the Brazilian shareholders involved in the Car Wash “Lava Jato” operation, investigating corruption and embezzlement schemes with Petrobras…
Brazil Scraps Para Port Auction, to Offer Three Santos Areas
Brazil canceled an auction to lease a port terminal area in the northern state of Para due to lack of interest but will auction three other areas in its largest port of Santos on Wednesday, a spokesman for the port secretariat said on Tuesday. The government, facing its worst recession in 25 years, is counting on private investment to upgrade its strained port infrastructure as exports of soybeans, sugar, coffee and beef soar due to Brazil's weakening currency. Fewer terminals on auction mean fewer potential funds for President Dilma Rousseff's cash-strapped government. The three areas in Santos, in the Southeast, will be offered at an auction in Sao Paulo starting at 9 a.m. (11 GMT) on Wednesday.
Brazil Deepens Bribery Probe
Brazil’s Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPI) has recommended the deepening of investigations into 10 companies - including Keppel, SembCorp Marine and Kawasaki Heavy- involved in the alleged bribery transactions with Petrobras and Sete Brasil. The investigations follow allegations by a former engineering manager at Petrobras, which is caught up in a massive procurement corruption scandal that has contributed to efforts to impeach Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. Singapore rig builder Keppel Corp.
Former Petrobras Exec Sentenced for Samsung Drillship Bribe
A Brazilian judge sentenced Nestor Cervero, former international chief of state-run oil firm Petrobras, to just over 12 years in prison on Monday for corruption and money laundering related to a bribe allegedly paid to the speaker of Brazil's lower house of Congress. Cervero and two other defendants are accused of organizing bribes from Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries in exchange for two drillship contracts, the Petrobras 10000, which was leased jointly by Petrobras and Mitsui in 2006, and the Vitoria 10000, hired by Petrobras in 2007.
Brazil Tarriff Hike to Impede U.S. Ethanol Exports
Brazil was due to publish a tariff increase of 11.75 percent on imported ethanol on Monday, and the traders in U.S. ethanol, which makes up the bulk of imports to Brazil, were concerned about the move, expected to benefit local mills. In late May, the Senate passed Bill 668, which raises Brazil's so-called PIS-COFINS taxes on a broad array of imports including ethanol to 11.75 percent. President Dilma Rousseff signed the bill into law late on Friday, a spokesman at the Presidential Palace said on Monday. It remained unclear whether she included any vetoes to parts of the bill the Senate passed. The federal government's Official Daily Register (DOU) did not include the signed bill in its Monday morning edition but the spokesman said the signed bill would appear in the afternoon edition.
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.
Former Petrobras Exec Sentenced to 5 Years Jail
A Brazilian judge sentenced a former international director at state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA to five years in prison for money laundering on Tuesday, the second company executive convicted in an ongoing corruption probe. Federal Judge Sergio Moro said there was ample evidence to support charges by prosecutors that the former director, Nestor Cervero, used bribe money stolen from the company to buy a luxury apartment in Rio de Janeiro. Cervero was fired from Petrobras, as the company is known, in 2014 and arrested in January as he stepped off a plane from Europe. He is also suspected of receiving bribes in exchange for awarding drilling ship contracts.
Brazil to Lease 29 Ports to Private Companies
A plan to attract private investment to Brazil's strained port infrastructure is even more important in the face of federal budget cuts that will curb public investment, Brazilian Ports Minister Edinho Araújo said in an interview. Brazil, which has seen exports of iron ore, soybeans, sugar, coffee and beef soar, is planning to lease 29 public terminals, including at the country's largest port in Santos and in the northern state of Para, to private companies under a 2012 law. The move, currently blocked by a federal audit court, could attract 4.9 billion reais ($1.6 billion) of private investment and increase port capacity by 47 million tonnes, Araujo told Reuters on Monday.
Brazil Truck Strike Diminishes
Some truck drivers in Brazil continued blocking roads on Tuesday, slowing grains deliveries to southern ports, even as adherence to the strike diminished and a key highway in top soy state Mato Grosso opened. Nationwide, there were 18 roadblocks over rising freight costs by the end of the day on Monday, well below peaks of more than 100 a week ago, federal highway police said. With the two-week-old protests concentrated in the south, however, the situation at No. 2 soy exporting port Paranagua remained critical, a spokesman said. On Monday just over 700 trucks arrived at the port, less than half the normal amount for this time of the year. With stocks running out, the port can only guarantee exports of soybeans and soymeal through Wednesday, the spokesman said.
Brazil Truckers Continue Roadblocks After Crackdown
Striking truck drivers resumed some roadblocks in Brazil on Monday even as the government cracked down on protesters and promised to implement a law to lower toll costs and give other benefits to the transport sector. Nationwide there were 24 road blockages in four states, down from 99 points a week ago, the federal highway police said. Except for two roadblocks on the BR-163 highway in the top soy growing state of Mato Grosso, all were in the south. In Rio Grande do Sul, where police had completely cleared roads by detaining protesters and bringing in back-up troops on Sunday, striking drivers were stopping cargo trucks at 12 points though they were letting passenger cars pass, police said.
Brazil's Rousseff Says Petrobras Critics Distorting Facts
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Monday lashed out at critics of Petroleo Brasileiro SA, saying accusations of corruption, cost-overruns and stagnation at the state-run oil company were politically-motivated. "I won't tolerate any type of wrongdoing, criminal action, influence peddling or corruption of any type no matter who commits it," Rousseff said in a campaign-style speech at the launching of an oil tanker at a shipyard near Recife, Brazil. "At the same time I won't stand by quietly when people carry out a politically-motivated, negative campaign to hurt the company's image.
Petrobas Board Member Complains of Inept Management
The uproar in Brazil over state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA's purchase of a refinery in Pasadena, Texas, is just "a drop in the ocean" of problems afflicting the company, a board member said on Tuesday. Concerns it paid too much for the refinery pale in comparison to the problems with the way the company has been managed since a 2010 capital increase, said Mauro Cunha, who represents minority shareholders on the board of the Rio de Janeiro-based company. Petrobras, as the company is known, has been struggling with management mistakes since 2010, when the government pressured it to raise as much as 120 billion reais ($58.3 billion) from the sale of new stock to investors, analysts say.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
Petrobras Shares Rise Strongly for Electoral Bets
Preferred shares of Brazilian state oil company Petrobras rose sharply on Friday as investors bet that President Dilma Rousseff will not be able to win re-election in the first round of the October elections. The death of the presidential candidate Eduardo Campos in a plane crash on Wednesday raised expectations that their popular running mate Marina Silva is the representative of his party in the elections, complicating Rousseff's aspirations of winning without having to go to a second round . Investors expect a new government to approve more favorable to the interests of the minority shareholders of Petrobras policy. Some analysts said the market reaction may have been exaggerated by the term of stock options contract on Monday.
Realizing the Promise of Brazil Shipbuilding
If and when Brazil gets its maritime act together, oh what a shipbuilding market force it could be. The modern Brazilian shipbuilding industry was established in the 1960s, induced by a broad and effective governmental policy. The 1960s and 1970s saw the rise of the merchant marine and shipbuilding industry in Brazil. The creation of the “Merchant Marine Fund” and the “Tax for the Merchant Marine Renewal,” in 1958, together with other specific targets set by the government at that time…
Neves Contends Drives Bullish Bets on Brazil Companies
U.S. options market bulls rushed to some of the biggest Brazilian companies on Monday, a day after pro-business Brazilian presidential candidate Aecio Neves' surprisingly strong showing in the first-round election vote. Brazilian financial markets rallied after the centrist senator's strong finish in Sunday's election, setting the stage for what is expected to be a tight runoff against leftist President Dilma Rousseff. Neves will now face Rousseff in the second-round runoff on Oct. 26.
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.