November 12, 2019 / 9:45 PM / 9 months ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil's BNDES hiring banks to sell at least $1.2 bln in JBS shares -sources

(Adds details on the offering, shareholders agreement)

By Tatiana Bautzer and Carolina Mandl

SAO PAULO, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Brazilian development bank BNDES has asked banks for proposals to sell a stake worth 5 billion reais ($1.2 billion) in meatpacker JBS SA, sources with knowledge of the matter said.

The proposals are expected to be delivered in the coming days, according to three sources, and are the first step for hiring the banks to manage the offering.

The development bank's investment arm BNDESPar has a 21.3% stake in the company, but has asked this week for proposals to sell only part of its stake, the sources added, asking for anonymity to disclose non-public information.

The shareholders agreement in the company requires BNDESPar to keep its stake at no less than 15% if it wants a seat on the board and a veto on some issues, according to public documents.

To comply with this rule, BNDESPar could only sell 6.3% of the company, around 172 million shares, worth around 5 billion reais ($1.2 billion) according to the market prices on Tuesday.

But it is unclear if BNDESPar would sell only this portion of the stake or if it could raise the total amount, the sources added. Banks will advise BNDES on the best timing for the offering.

The shareholders agreement will expire on Dec. 31 and is not expected to be renewed, according to a fourth source with knowledge of the matter.

If the chosen bank considers the best timing for a sale is next year, a bigger stake could be sold after Dec. 31, according to the sources.

BNDES and JBS did not immediately comment.

BNDES is expected to divest most of its 110 billion reais ($29 billion) stock portfolio, as President Jair Bolsonaro's government tries to reduce the presence of Brazilian state in the economy and undo previous policies of the government financing international expansion of Brazilian companies.

BNDES' total stake in JBS is worth around 16 billion reais and its sale would mark one of the first divestitures by the development bank in the so-called "national champions" companies.

Shares in JBS are at their historical highs and rose 180% over the last 12 months, trading at 27.54 reais. ($1 = 4.1637 reais)

Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer and Carolina Mandl; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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