New Petrobras chief says no to subsidies, government intervention

|About: Petrobras - Petroleo Brasil... (PBR)|By:, SA News Editor

Roberto Castello Branco, who was sworn in yesterday as the new CEO at Petrobras (PBR +2.8%), tells Bloomberg he is "revolted" by the company's moral and financial crises of recent years, and vows to raise oil production and reduce the huge debt load.

Criticizing the history of government interference in the company, Castello Branco says "fuel prices should be in line with international ones, with a sound 'no' to subsidies or to attempts at having a monopoly... We are pro-market economists. We like competition."

The new CEO also plans to continue PBR’s program of selling non-core assets and use the proceeds to cut debt and invest in promising projects.

But the extent to which Castello Branco will be able to put his ideas into practice is in doubt: Various courts in Brazil have suspended major PBR asset sales in recent months, the company is locked in a dispute with the government over the so-called transfer-of-rights area, and Brazil's people have consistently opposed selling off public firms in part or in whole.

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