Brazil's state-run oil company Petrobras completed the sale of its 45.9% stake in sugar and ethanol producer Guarani to France's Tereos International for US$202.8M on 3 February as it exits the biofuels sector to reduce its debts (see Biofuel News, OFI February 2017).

Petrobras said the deal was completed after Tereos made the cash payment and fulfilled all the conditions set out in their sales contract signed on 28 December.

Guarani is one of the leading companies in the Brazilian sugar and ethanol market, ranked third among the largest sugar producers in the country. It has eight industrial units – seven in Brazil (with a combined production capacity of 1.7M tonnes of sugar and 900M litres/year of ethanol) and one in Mozambique.

Petrobras has also agreed to sell its 49% stake in sugar and ethanol joint venture Nova Fronteira Bioenergia SA to its partner São Martinho SA.

According to Platts, the Guarani sale was part of five asset sales allowed to move forward by Brazil's Federal Audit Court (TCU), which was conducting a review of Petrobras' divestment program.

In December, the TCU prohibited Petrobras from signing any new sales contracts until the review had been completed.

Petrobras said it had sold US$13.6bn of assets in 2015-2016, below the US$15.1bn target set for the two-year period. Its divestment target in 2017-2018 is US$21bn, up from the original target of US$19.5bn.