Petroleo Brasileiro (Petrobras) is looking to buy assets after divesting refineries and oil blocks for the majority of the past decade, reported Bloomberg.

In an interview, Petrobras chief financial officer (CFO) Sergio Caetano Leite said the Brazilian Government-backed oil and gas company is now in a comfortable position.

Backed by strong cash generation and low production costs, it is time for Petrobras to “take a bigger step”, Leite said.

“Petrobras had a divestment program,” he told the publication.

“The company has now changed sides of the table.”

Last week, Petrobras issued its first dollar-denominated, benchmark-size bond deal in two years.

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By GlobalData

Leite stressed that despite the company’s renewed interest in mergers and acquisitions, it is unlikely that it will go on a bond-issuing spree to fund acquisitions or increase investments.

He said that subsequent bond issuances will help to lower the company’s debt profile.

In the first quarter of 2023, Petrobras’ gross debt fell to $53.3bn (258bn reais), its lowest level since 2010. This is nearly at the low end of the $50bn–65bn range that was announced in the company’s five-year strategic plan, which, according to the CFO, is reasonable.

According to Leite, demand for last week’s issue suggested additional similar deals could be considered.

“The time had come to put our feet in the water and see what the temperature was,” he said.

“The acceptance was good, which leads us to continue looking at the debt markets. Petrobras is back to the game.”

Earlier this week, Petrobras signed a natural gas purchase and sale contract with Companhia de Gás de Pernambuco.