Petrobras studies new use for Comperj

Oil giant Petrobras is looking for alternatives to use the unfinished Comperj facilities in Itaboraí, Rio de Janeiro. Comperj originally would have been a petrochemical complex, but in the end, it became one of the biggest symbols of waste and corruption in the history of the state-owned company. One idea is to turn it into a natural gas hub. Petrobras is investing $4 billion in a processing unit and considering installing a thermoelectric plant to harness presalt gas. Another option is to use part of the equipment initially planned for the petrochemical complex to build a lubricant plant. The company has already spent more than $13 billion in the venture.


Oil producers sees bright year for soy byproducts

Brazil, already bound to surpass the US as the world’s top soybean producer, also sees a positive landscape for next year’s sales of meal and oil – the grain’s main byproducts. Abiove, which represents vegetable oil producers, bets on a strong domestic market driven by chicken and pork exports to China. The trade group estimates that the national soybean harvest will reach 122.8 million tonnes in 2019/20, 4.2% above the previous crop. Brazilian exports will likely expand 3 million tonnes, to 75 million, next year. Considering an average price of $360 a tonne, Abiove projects $27 billion in revenue, compared to $33.2 billion the year before, which means the recovery will be only partial. Demand from China, the main buyer, will likely be low due to the epidemic of African swine fever that has reduced the herd of pigs in the country.

Source: Valor Econômico


Central Bank wants ATMs serving fintechs customers

The Central Bank (BC) will adopt measures to ease the use of ATMs, especially for fintech and digital bank customers, following the agenda of bringing more competition to the financial system. Officials launched Monday a public consultation with a proposal to ensure interoperability of terminals. The goal is to oversee ATM services, and thus ensure more isonomic access conditions between traditional banks, payment institutions and fintechs. Fintechs and small banks had been complaining about the barriers imposed by large banks. “The consumer who has accounts at fintechs and small and medium sized institutions now has an option with affordable and cheaper fees to withdraw their money from the ATM network,” says Ricardo Gelbaum, head of the Brazilian Association of Banks (ABBC). Brazil is the only country in Latin America without ATM interoperability.

Source: Valor Econômico


SoftBank to strike fewer and bigger deals in Latin America

Softbank, the Japanese telecommunications and internet group, expects to close fewer deals throughout 2020, but with higher figures, according to André Maciel, responsible for the operation in Brazil. “So far we have made the most obvious deals, but not the biggest transactions we had in mind in terms of value. We still have a lot to digest,” he said. SoftBank consolidated its presence in Latin America in April announcing a $5 billion fund for investments in the region. Mr. Maciel said that so far R$6 billion and R$10 billion have been invested in the Latin American market. SoftBank’s injections have driven the market and made the number of unicorns in the region jump. Colombian Rappi and Brazil’s Gympass, Loggi and QuintoAndar have joined the list.

Source: Valor Econômico


Brazil draws investments from domestic and global drugmakers

Brazil has become attractive for pharmaceutical investments after the national currency weakened to over R$4 to the dollar and amid prospects of 9% growth in the industry this year and above 10% in 2020. Around R$5.5 billion can be generated in four deals currently in various stagesof negotiation with national and global drugmakers. The sale of the Buscopan family by Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) to Sanofi or Procter & Gamble (P&G), for example, could raise between R$750 million and R$1 billion. Biotoscana sold 51.21% of its capital to Canadian Knight Therapeutics for R$595.6 million. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) put on sale its dermocosmetics line in a deal expected to reach R$1 billion. And Japan’s Takeda is getting to offers around R$ 2.8 billion for its over-the-counter (OTC) assets. “Brazil is cheap with the real at this level and has a growing market. This attracts mainly foreign investors. This movement should remain next year. There are good prospects,” says Nelson Mussolini, head of the Union of the Pharmaceutical Products Industry (Sindusfarma).

Source: Valor Econômico

Telecom regulator postpones again 5G auction decision

The Brazilian Telecommunications Regulatory Agency’s (Anatel) board postponed for the second time the opening of public hearings to discuss rules for the auction to bring fifth generation (5G) mobile technology to Brazil. The decision was suspended as director Moisés Moreira requested more time to analyze the process. He pledged to return it in “record time.” The expectation is that the director will resume the public debate process in the first board meeting of 2020, in January. The auction is now planned for the second half.

Source: Valor Econômico


Inspired by Portugal, officials want to lease historical properties

The Tourism Ministry is working on a project to lease historical properties to private-sector interests. Minister Marcelo Álvaro Antônio says the measure could ensure conservation while generating jobs and revenues. The program will focus on properties of recognized architectural, historical or cultural value that officials argue are not being adequately used, the minister said during a Chamber of Deputies hearing. “Portugal today does this very well,” he said. The minister also promises to call for recreating the Culture Ministry, which under President Jair Bolsonaro has been downgraded to a secretariat of the Tourism Ministry.


Source: Valor Econômico


Prosecutor-general tries to defuse “fiscal bomb”

The Office of Federal Prosecutor-General asked the Federal Supreme Court (STF) to contain the fiscal impact of a recent ruling that excluded the Tax on the Circulation of Goods and Services (ICMS) from the calculation base of social contributions PIS and Cofins. Prosecutor-General Augusto Aras wants the Supreme Court to void the ruling’s retroactive effect, claiming that returning the money unduly collected from taxpayers would have a “serious impact on government accounts,” compromising essential services, public investments and social rights. The STF ruled against the federal government in 2017, but officials have been postponing the effects with procedural measures. The final bill could be as high as R$250 billion.

Source: Valor Econômico


Strong demand seen for rural credit for investments

Six farm credit lines for investments in machinery, implements, warehouses or improvements in farms at subsidized interest rates, financed by the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), along with another for agricultural inputs are already showing signs of exhaustion in this 2019/20 cycle. Farmers can no longer obtain subsidized loans and the current cycle runs until June 20, 2020. Amid a heated demand on these fronts, the Ministry of Agriculture is studying an eventual relocation of R$300 million from other areas, but Minister Tereza Cristina herself stated that there is little room for change. State-owned Banco do Brasil, the leading farm lender in Brazil, is considering opening new operations with its own resources and similar rates to meet the demand, according to one source.

Source: Valor Econômico


Innovation is priority of new CEO of Ambev

The new CEO of Ambev, Jean Jereissati, takes the company reins in January with three goals: making the company more open and collaborative with the different links of the beverage chain, accelerating the capacity to innovate and making a technological leap. Mr. Jereissati added that innovation includes changes in beer brands, new recipes, different packaging and developing other beverages. For the executive, the innovation must involve all areas of the company, suppliers and consumers. Mr. Jereissati has worked at Ambev and parent company AB InBev for 21 years. Since January, he is the brewery sales and marketing director in Brazil.

Source: Valor Econômico