Stephen Eisenhammer News

14 Jul 2016

Fire at Brazil's Rumo Sugar Terminal Disrupts Operations

A fire at the Rumo sugar and grain terminal in Brazil's Santos port that started early Thursday restricted operations but caused no injuries, according to a spokesman for the company controlled by sugar and ethanol producer Cosan SA. The blaze broke out around 4 a.m. local time (0700 GMT) and the company expects to resume normal operations by midday Thursday, the spokesman said. The fire started at a conveyor belt which connects two of Rumo's warehouse complexes and was controlled within an hour, after loading and unloading were temporarily suspended. News of the incident in the world's biggest sugar producing nation triggered a more than 4 percent rally in sugar prices . Futures have pared back some early gains but are still trading up 2.5 percent at 11:00 a.m. local time.

12 Jan 2016

Vale Draws $3 bln Credit Line as Asset Sales Falter

File image: A Valemax bulk carrier (Vale)

Brazilian miner Vale SA said on Tuesday it has drawn down $3 billion of its $5 billion revolving credit line to improve liquidity and cover potential costs until it manages to close asset sales. The money will partly be used to pay off bonds that mature in the first quarter of 2016, Vale said. The world's largest producer of iron ore has been hit hard by a collapse in the price of the key steelmaking ingredient and analysts expect the company to be cash-flow negative in 2016. In order to make up the shortfall, Vale is selling assets, including its large iron ore carrying ships.

20 Dec 2015

Judge Blocks Brazilian Assets of Vale, BHP After Dam Burst

A judge in Brazil's state of Minas Gerais has frozen the Brazilian assets of mining giants BHP Billiton and Vale SA after determining their joint venture Samarco was unable to pay for damage caused by the bursting of a dam at its mine last month. In a ruling issued late on Friday, the judge ruled that Vale and BHP could be held responsible for the disaster at the iron ore mine in the state of Minas Gerais, for which the government is demanding 20 billion reais ($5 billion). Vale and BHP each told Reuters they had not yet been notified about the decision. The companies are able to appeal. The dam burst, which turned into Brazil's worst ever environmental disaster, killed 16 people, left hundreds homeless and polluted a river 800 km (500-miles) long that flows across two states.

03 Oct 2015

Eletrobras says Compensation for Hydro Plants Could be $330 mln

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Brazil's state-run utility Eletrobras said on Friday a report into six hydroelectric plants found the assets had a remaining value of 1.3 billion reais ($332 million) after amortization and depreciation. Under Brazilian law, Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA, as the company is formally known, may be entitled to compensation for that amount if the figure is approved by the national energy agency ANEEL. ($1 = 3.92) (Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer; Editing by David Gregorio)

03 Oct 2015

Brazil Court Allows Lula Questioning in Petrobras Corruption Case

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Photo courtesy FP Services)

Brazil's Supreme Court authorized the questioning by Federal Police of ex-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as a witness in a broadening corruption case focused on state-run oil company Petrobras , a spokesperson for the court said on Friday. (Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer; Editing by Chris Reese)

14 Sep 2015

Petrobras Chairman Ferreira to take Leave

Murilo Ferreira graced the cover of Maritime Professional. http://magazines.marinelink.com/Magazines/MaritimeProfessional/201205/flash/

Murilo Ferreira will take a leave of absence as chairman of state-run oil firm Petrobras, turning his full attention to his job as chief executive of Vale SA as the mining giant grapples with a downturn in the sector. Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as the company is formally known, did not give a reason for Ferreira's leave, which it said would last until Nov. 30. A company source told Reuters he had requested time off to focus on Vale as it navigates a slump in iron ore prices and a slowdown in China.

27 Jul 2015

Mozambique Port Accident Deals Blow to Vale Coal Project

A coal stacker has collapsed at the Mozambique port of Nacala, dealing a blow to Brazilian miner Vale's effort to start coal shipments from the African nation in the third quarter, sources told Reuters on Monday. The giant piece of machinery, which is used to handle coal and other bulk materials, buckled last week, according to a mining industry source with knowledge of the situation. "The contractors are investigating and an official report is expected within a couple of weeks," the source said, adding that no one was hurt in the accident. Another source said it could take months to fix the equipment. In an emailed statement Vale confirmed that the coal stacker, which was in the final stages of construction, collapsed last week.

27 Jul 2015

Vale Coal Stacker Collapses at Mozambique Port

A coal stacker has collapsed at the Mozambique port of Nacala, dealing a blow to Brazilian miner Vale, which is aiming to start coal shipments in the third quarter of this year, three sources told Reuters on Monday. The giant piece of machinery, which is used to handle coal and other bulk materials, buckled last week, according to a mining industry source with knowledge of the situation. "The contractors are investigating and an official report is expected within a couple of weeks," the source said, adding that no one was hurt in the accident. (Reporting by Ed Stoddard, Silvia Antonioli and Stephen Eisenhammer)

19 Jun 2015

Usiminas to Cancel Iron Ore Shipment Contract

Brazilian steelmaker Usiminas intends to cancel its iron ore shipment contract with the Sudeste Port, a private terminal near Rio de Janeiro, the port said on Friday.   The statement did not say how much Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais SA, as the company is formally known, had agreed to export through the terminal nor did it give a reason for the desire to cancel the contract.   Usiminas declined to comment on the news.     (Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer; Editing by Diane Craft)

29 May 2015

Vale to Ship Coal Along Mozambique Nacala Corridor

Brazilian miner Vale SA  plans to start exporting coal along the Nacala rail and port corridor in Mozambique and Malawi in the third quarter after heavy rains damaged the rail line, the firm's head of coal told Reuters on Friday. The Moatize mine remains on track to reach a run rate of 11 million tonnes of coal per year by mid-2016, Vale Executive Director of Coal and Fertilizers Roger Downey said on the sidelines of the Japan-Africa Mining & Resources Business Seminar in Tokyo. Current production is 7 million tonnes per year. Vale's Moatize project has been beset by logistics issues, with the difficulty of constructing and expanding the Nacala railway and port holding back production increases at the mine.

19 May 2015

Vale to Sell 4 Large Iron Ore Carriers to CMES

Brazilian miner Vale said on Tuesday it agreed to sell four large iron ore carriers to China Merchants Energy Shipping Co (CMES) , as it looks to raise cash in the midst of an iron ore price slump.   The world's largest producer of iron ore said in a statement the details of the contract had not yet been finalised and will be released in the coming months.     (Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer)

01 May 2015

Vale Debt Rating Cut On Iron Ore Price Drop

Brazilian mining company Vale SA was downgraded late on Thursday by the Standard & Poor's credit-rating agency over concern that a drop in iron ore prices will erode revenue at the world's largest producer of the main steel-making ingredient. New York-based S&P reduced the company's rating to "BBB," the second-lowest investment grade level, from "BBB+." S&P had cut the company's rating to BBB+ in January. A BBB rating means a company has "adequate capacity to meet financial commitments, but (is) more subject to adverse economic conditions" than higher-rated companies, according to the agency. S&P, which took Vale off a "credit watch," said the outlook for Vale's rating was negative.

13 Apr 2015

Petrobras Shares Jump on Plans to Sell Braskem Stake

Shares in Brazil's Petrobras rose 6 percent on Monday after local media reported that the state-run oil company plans to sell a stake in petrochemicals firm Braskem SA for around 2.8 billion reais ($903 million).   The report in Broadcast, the real-time news service of newspaper Estado de S. Paulo, did not name any potential buyers or say at what stage the sales process was.   Neither Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as the company is formally known, or Braskem were immediately available for comment.     ($1 = 3.10 Brazilian reais) (Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer)

24 Feb 2015

OSX Brasil CFO Steps Down, CEO to Take Role

OSX Brasil SA Chief Financial Officer Claudio Antônio da Silva Zuicker is stepping down, and Chief Executive Officer Vladimir Kundert Ranevsky will add the role of CFO, the troubled Brazilian shipbuilder said in a statement on Tuesday.   OSX is the shipbuilding arm of the EBX conglomerate started by fallen tycoon Eike Batista, who was once Brazil's richest man but lost almost everything as his companies failed under mounting debt and missed targets.     (Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer; Editing by David Gregorio)

11 Feb 2015

Update: 3 Dead, 10 Injured in FPSO Explosion

Photo: BW Offshore

Brazil oil regulator says 3 dead, 10 injured in Petrobras platform explosion   An explosion at an offshore Petrobras oil and natural gas platform killed three workers and injured 10 more, Brazil's oil regulator ANP confirmed in a statement on Wednesday.   The explosion, caused by a gas leak, occurred on a floating oil platform (FPSO) called Cidade de São Mateus which is owned by Norwegian-listed BW Offshore and contracted to Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as Petrobras is formally known.     (Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer; Editing by Chris Reese)

11 Feb 2015

At Least Three Dead in FPSO Explosion

Photo courtesy of Keppel Offshore and Marine

At least three oil workers were killed and others were injured in an explosion on Wednesday at an offshore oil and natural gas platform in Brazil operated by state-run energy company Petroleo Brasileiro SA , union officials said. The workers were killed in an explosion aboard the Cidade de São Mateus, a floating oil production, storage and offloading ship (FPSO), said Davidson Lombo, finance director of Sindepetro-ES, the union representing workers on the platform. It was not immediately clear what caused the explosion.

26 Jan 2015

Petrobras Probe Points to Pension Fund

Clarification: This story has been updated to include the full name a company which is under investigation for involvement in a corruption scandal with Petrobras. The name of the Brazilian company is UTC Engenharia, not UTC as initially reported. There are several global companies known as UTC, and only the Brazilian firm UTC Engenharia is implicated. Brazil's state-run oil company Petrobras on Monday said a growing corruption scandal may implicate its employee pension fund and has led to a freeze on payments to 23 contractors allegedly involved in the scheme. Petros, the 66 billion real ($24 billion) employee-pension fund of Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as Petrobras is formally known, was singled out by an internal investigation, Petrobras said in a statement.

07 Nov 2014

Brazil's Vale Opens Malaysia Port in Bid to Cut Freight Costs

Brazil's Vale SA on Friday inaugurated a $1.4 billion port in Malaysia able to receive and blend iron ore from its mega-ships, an important step in the miner's battle to cut transportation costs to the crucial Chinese market. Brazil's distance from China - which accounts for nearly 70 percent of the global seaborne market for iron ore - has been a distinct disadvantage in Vale's attempts to compete with closer Australian rivals BHP Billiton Plc and Rio Tinto Plc. The port in Malaysia, as well as the giant ships known as Valemaxes, are part of a plan to address the problem. Its urgency has grown this year as the price of iron ore has tumbled 40 percent. Such a facility is particularly important as a two-year-long ban on Valemaxes docking at Chinese ports remains in force.

30 Oct 2014

Vale CEO: Coal Deal Soon

Brazilian mining company Vale SA is close to making a "strategic" announcement concerning its coal unit, the company's chief executive Murilio Ferreira said on Thursday during a conference call with investors without providing details. Vale, the world's largest iron ore producer, has previously said it is trying to sell a stake in its Moatize coal mine, rail and port project in Mozambique. Rio de Janeiro-based Vale, which reported a surprise $1.44 billion third-quarter loss earlier on Thursday also said high-cost iron ore producers are not closing mines as quickly as expected. Still, iron-ore chief Jose Carlos Martins said during the…

30 Oct 2014

Vale Financials Disappoint; Iron Ore Prices, Currency Cited

Brazil's Vale posted a surprise loss of $1.44 billion on Thursday, hurt by a fall in the price of iron ore, higher production costs and a weakening Brazilian currency. Analysts said the results were disappointing and suggested Vale might find it harder than expected to fund expansion projects over the next two years and its dividend could be cut. The performance will be taken as an ominous sign by some as Vale competes with Australian rivals Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton to increase production and cut costs in the face of an iron ore price near five-year-lows. The world's largest producer of iron ore mined a record amount of the steel-making ingredient during the quarter, but Vale's slight rise in production was not enough to offset the plunge in price.

27 Oct 2014

Brazil's Petrobras Finds Oil in Libra Prospect

Brazil's state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA said on Monday it found "good quality" oil in an exploration well in the giant Libra prospect, off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state. The well is the first drilled by the Petrobras-led consortium which won the right to explore and develop the area which contains an estimated 8-12 billion recoverable barrels of petroleum. Petrobras has a 40 percent stake in the group with Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total SA each owning 20 percent and China's CNPC and CNOOC Ltd each with 10 percent. Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer and Jeb Blount

15 Sep 2014

Brazil to Hold Next Oil Rights Auction in 2015

Brazil will hold the 13th round of its oil rights auctions in the first half of next year, a senior mines and energy ministry official said on Monday. Marco Antonio Martins, the undersecretary in charge of the oil industry at the ministry, said at an industry event in Rio de Janeiro that the auction will sell blocks under a concession system. The areas for auction will be outside the so-called Subsalt Polygon, where oil is trapped beneath the seabed by a layer of salt, and where under Brazilian law exploration can only be done on production-sharing contracts with the Brazilian government. (Reporting by Jeb Blount and Marta Nogueira; Writing by Stephen Eisenhammer; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

12 Sep 2014

Vale, Cosco to Cooperate on Iron Ore Shipping

Brazilian miner Vale SA reached a deal with China Ocean Shipping Co (Cosco) for transporting iron ore, a move that could help the Brazilian miner resolve a costly two-year ban on docking its mega-ships at Chinese ports. Vale said in a statement that it would transfer ownership of four very large iron ore carriers of 400,000 deadweight tons to Cosco. It would then lease them back from Cosco, the state-owned parent of top Chinese dry bulk shipper China Cosco , for 25 years. The deal is part of a continuing effort by Vale to move away from owning its own vessels so it can focus on mining and shore up its balance sheet. But this agreement could also pave the way for more productive negotiations with China over docking Vale's mega-bulk carrier known as the Valemax.

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