March 15, 2020 / 10:17 PM / 23 days ago

Petrobras' CEO sees 2020 profit hit by oil prices report

SAO PAULO, March 15 (Reuters) - The chief executive officer of Brazil's Petroleo Brasileiro SA said its profit are likely to be hit by current lower oil prices, according to an interview with CNN Brasil.

"Petrobras is in good shape financially. But our results will be hit, it is clear. As an oil company, its profitability is affected by oil prices," CEO Roberto Castello Branco said.

He also said he is unsure whether the state-controlled oil company will be able to reduce its debt in 2020.

"We were planning to do this (reduce debt) this year," Castello Branco told CNN. "Let's see if it will be viable or not. There is a question mark over it," he added referring to the new coronavirus and the oil price war.

Castello Branco's statement comes as analysts and investors are casting doubt on Petrobras' strategy to sell assets and reduce its debt load.

Still, Castello Branco said the company is keeping plans to sell some of its refineries this years, as investors are still interested in them. Potential buyers are currently visiting the refineries and doing their due diligence.

Reporting by Carolina Mandl; editing by Diane Craft

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