The “Petrobras hidden tax ”

“I believe in a certain period of the history of Brazil there will be direct elections for Petrobras’ president, and this person will nominate the president of the republic.”

This speech was how Lula expressed his hopes about Petrobras right after the discovery of the pre-salt oil in the Brazilian coast.

The optimism of the former president of the republic, who has always spoken on a familiar and not intellectual manner,  was clear : “We are proud of Petrobras. If it were a woman, it would be the one that all mothers would like their sons to be married to. ”

Investments in Petrobras naturally followed Lula’s positive speeches, from R$16 bi in 2006 to R$76,4 bi in 2010. Debt also increased substantially, reaching R$ 117,9 bi in 2010.

However, the question Brazilians are not asking yet is : Who pays for all Petrobras debt ?

40% are paid by public banks : BNDES, R$ 36,3 bi; CEF, R$ 5,66 bi; BB, R$ 4,35 bi. Further, BNDES owns R$ 44 bi of Petrobras shares.

For this, Petrobras pays around 6% of interest rates, close to international standards. However, this loan capital comes from the national treasury, which in turn receives capital with interest rates of about 12%( !). This difference is paid by every Brazilian, rich  or poor, who finance public debt through the payment of taxes.

This « Petrobras tax » is a hidden tribute, but a very real one and the nation of the future should watch closely the strategies of the petrol company.

The marriage is being very expensive, only time and the « black gold » will prove if the fiancée will become a good (and profitable) wife.

Published by Ricardo Geromel

Ricardo was born and raised in Brazil but also has Italian citizenship. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Fairleigh Dickinson University. This erratic blogger is a master candidate in Paris at ESCP-Europe, but presently in a gap semester. He speaks five languages and has worked as project manager for Bolloré Group in Guinea Conakry, West Africa and as agricultural commodities trader for Noble Group in Switzerland, Hong Kong, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil.

3 thoughts on “The “Petrobras hidden tax ”

  1. Ricardo,
    whose quote is that? About the president of Petrobras nominating the president of Brazil? I have heard it but I can’t recall who said it..
    It makes a good point on the strategic and political role that Petrobras plays in Brazil.


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