Brazil’s secretary of privatisation Salim Mattar has announced plans for the Brazilian government to sell at least R$74.5bn ($20bn) in state-owned company assets, including parts of oil multinational Petroleo Brasileiro (Petrobras).

During a speech at an investment conference on Tuesday, Mattar said the Brazilian government wants Petrobras to sell most of its 36 subsidiaries within four years. Shares in Petrobras were up 2% in morning trading on Wednesday.

Mattar also highlighted the government’s desire to sell subsidiaries from banks Banco do Brasil and Caixa Econômica Federal, as well as plans to privatise state electric utility company Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras (Eletrobras) by selling additional shares.

He added that he expects these sales to be significantly easier than the privatisation of state-owned companies controlled by government ministries, estimating that Brazil’s state-owned companies are worth between R$700bn ($188) and R$800bn ($215bn) combined.

Mattar’s comments come after Petrobras reportedly agreed to sell a Texan oil refinery to American energy multinational Chevron. In December 2018, Petrobras also unveiled plans to invest $84.1bn in deepwater exploration and production projects in Brazil, hoping to raise $27bn through asset sales and partnerships by 2023.

The company was recently the focus of corruption allegations, paying a penalty of $853.2m to US and Brazilian authorities in September 2018 to settle investigations into the alleged Car Wash corruption row, which involved Petrobras executives allegedly accepting bribes in exchange for awarding construction contracts at inflated prices.

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