Minister criticizes Petrobras’ “exorbitant profits” and speaks of the market’s “crooked mouth”

Minister criticizes Petrobras’ “exorbitant profits” and speaks of the market’s “crooked mouth”
Minister criticizes Petrobras’ “exorbitant profits” and speaks of the market’s “crooked mouth”

The Minister of Mines and Energy, Alexandre Silveira (PSD)made harsh criticisms of the financial market, this Monday (1st), and denied that the president’s government Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) is trying to interfere in the current management of Petrobras.

In an interview given to GloboNewsSilveira criticized what he classified as the company’s “exorbitant profits” and said that Petrobras cannot lose sight of complying with its role and the guidelines drawn up by the government.

“We cannot admit that Petrobras has the sole and exclusive objective of making exorbitant profits to be able to distribute to its shareholders. We want it to make a lot of profit, we want it to be highly competitive. We don’t want to. We will work for this. Especially because, the bigger it is, the more competitive it is, the more resources we will have to apply, generate jobs, generate income and generate growth”, stated Silveira.

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Still according to the minister, the federal government does not interfere in mixed economy companies, but cannot give up its supervisory role. “What we cannot do is stop monitoring, for example, what the Petrobras board is doing from the point of view of fulfilling its investment plan, approved by the Board of Directors,” he said.

For Silveira, “the main objective of President Lula’s government is to take care of people”, and this has to be taken into consideration by the company. “President Lula made a campaign commitment. When he was elected, it was by a majority of the poor population of this country,” he noted.

“We will not give up and we will not lack the courage to discuss, to dialogue permanently with the private sector, with our companies, so that we can make national growth compatible with the generation of jobs and income”, continued the minister.

In the last balance sheet season, which marked the release of numbers for the last quarter of 2023, Petrobras announced the distribution of R$14.2 billion, without extra payment. The company’s board also approved that an amount of R$43.9 billion be allocated to a statutory reserve.

The company recorded a profit of around R$31 billion between October and December last year − an annual drop of 28%, and below projections. However, the result itself was completely overshadowed by the news about the distribution of the proceeds.

Petrobras pointed out that the proposed distribution is in line with the Shareholder Remuneration Policy, approved on July 28, 2023, which provides that, in the case of gross debt equal to or lower than the maximum level of debt defined in the strategic plan in force (currently US $65 billion), Petrobras must distribute 45% of the free cash flow to its shareholders.

Behind the scenes, it is said that Alexandre Silveira would be on a collision course with the president of Petrobras, Jean Paul Prates. President Lula himself would be dissatisfied with the company’s current management. Despite the rumors, the Chief Minister of the Civil House, Rui Costa (PT), assured, in mid-March, that Prates’ eventual departure was not being considered.

Market “crooked mouth”

In the interview, the Minister of Mines and Energy also criticized the press and sectors of the financial market, which challenged Petrobras’ decision not to distribute extraordinary dividends to its shareholders.

“There is a clear demonstration of market resistance as a result of the crooked mouth they have acquired in recent years, especially in the last four years of government [de Jair] Bolsonaro, in which they did what they wanted with Brazil”, attacked Silveira.

“Injustice” about Vale

The minister also rejected the thesis that the Lula government was trying to interfere in the mining company Vale, with an alleged intention of embedding the former Minister of Finance. Guido Mantega (PT) in the presidency of the company or in one of the seats on the Board of Directors. For Silveira, there was great “injustice” in the criticism of Lula on the matter.

“There was a lot of speculation about this. I worked all the time, and so did President Lula, so that Vale could solve its problems autonomously, through its governance. What we have to do is harshly criticize the national mineral sector”, stated Silveira, mentioning “serious distortions and crimes against the country that have been committed by the mineral sector”.

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The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Minister criticizes Petrobras exorbitant profits speaks markets crooked mouth



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