Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as Petrobras is formally known, priced shares in the subsidiary at 15 reais, at the bottom of the suggested price range, with concern about presidential elections next year and struggle to approve much-needed macroeconomic reforms weighing on investors orders, according to people close to the deal.
Petrobras opted for a lower price, but increased the size of the offer, with investors exercising the 15 percent "greenshoe" option for an over-allotment of shares.
Petrobras Distribuidora SA's IPO was the largest since the 5.12 billion reais listing of the local unit of retailer Carrefour SA (>> Carrefour) in July. Carrefour´s listing was the biggest in four years.
According to one person with knowledge of the matter, Petrobras Distribuidora was valued at around seven times its expected earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, a gauge of operational profitability known as EBITDA. Private sector rivals such as Ultrapar Participações SA trade at multiples above 10.
The long-awaited transaction has been discussed between the oil company and the banks for at least two years. Asset sales and spinoffs are being used by Petrobras to trim the largest debt burden of any major oil company, at about $95 billion.
Renewed demand for emerging market assets, and a nascent economic recovery have fostered demand for Brazilian assets following the deepest recession in a century.
Brazil is going through one of the busiest weeks for capital markets this year, with four transactions. Companies are rushing to complete the deals and avoid expected market volatility ahead of a wide-open presidential campaign next year.
(Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer, Flavia Bohone, Bruno Federowski and Brad Haynes; Editing by Christian Plumb and Lisa Shumaker)