Brazil's Petrobras hires banks to sell stake in fuel distributor - source

SAO PAULO, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Brazil’s state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA has hired seven investment banks to sell a stake in its fuel distribution unit, Petrobras Distribuidora SA, one source with knowledge of the matter said.

The investment banking units of Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Itau Unibanco Holding SA, XP Inc, Bank of America Corp and Citgroup Inc will manage the offering, the source said.

Petrobras, as the state-oil company is known, intends to raise several billion dollars by selling assets to reduce its hefty debt load.

Among the assets put up for sale is its 37.5% stake in BR Distribuidora. Still, it is not clear if Petrobras will sell its entire 37.5% stake, which is worth 12.5 billion reais ($2.99 billion) at once.

Brazilian newspaper Valor Economico reported earlier on the hiring of the banks.

Petrobras, BR Distribuidora and the banks did not immediately comment on the matter.

$1 = 4.1826 reais Reporting by Carolina Mandl Editing by Marguerita Choy