Tag Archives: commodities

Magnesita merger with Austrian RHI creates global giant in the industry

In an operation that creates a global leading company in the refractories market, mainly used in the steel industry, Brazil’s Magnesita, the third largest manufacturer in the world in this sector, merged their businesses to the Austrian giant RHI, based in Vienna. With the merger of assets, it is formed RHI Magnesita, which will have an annual revenue of approximately € 2.7 billion (R $ 9.8 billion).

The new company, which will have dispersed control, in line with the current profile of RHI, will have its shares listed on the London Stock Exchange. The corporate headquarters will be established in the Netherlands and the Austrian company stocks will be de-listed from the Vienna stock exchange.

EWZ: Ibovespa has its best semester since 2009 and US$ drops 18.6% versus the Brazilian Real

Brazilian’s most traded stock ETF in the US, EWZ soared 46.5% in the same 6 months:

EWZ-6-Months

In the beginning of the year, the perspective for the Brazilian market was not good with the country in recession and inflation sky rocketing. However, in the middle of February, the inflection started fueled by a global recover in commodities prices and an improvement in the expectations for the economic policies, which became known as the impeachment rally.

Besides, the downside event of the semester, the Brexit, was followed by an unexpected help which were the speculations that central banks all over the world will stimulate their economies to face market volatility. On Friday, the president of England’s central bank, Mark Carney, said that the growth in the UK will slow down in the next months and additional interest rate cuts and other measures of monetary ease will be necessary.

Sure, Brazil is not out of the woods yet and the new government still has lots to do to recover the economy. However, the better economic climate has started to translate into improvements in the confidence:

Consumer and Industry Confidence in Brazil

Besides the more favorable political environment, what is also helping in this confidence growth is the fact that some economic indicators are improving, albeit still very bad: IBC-Br, Industry and Services.

Brazilian Steel Industry in Survival mode for the Foreseeable Future

The Brazilian steel industry has seem better days. If we look at the three stocks traded as ADRs in the NYSE, we can see the depth of their agony in the last ten years:

Gerdau (NYSE:GGB):

Gerdau - Brazilian Steel Industry Agony in the last 10 years
Gerdau – Brazilian Steel Industry Agony in the last 10 years

Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional – CSN (NYSE:SID):

SID - Brazilian Steel Industry Agony in the last 10 years
CSN – Brazilian Steel Industry Agony in the last 10 years

Usiminas (OTC:USNZY):

Usiminas - Brazilian Steel Industry Agony in the last 10 years
Usiminas – Brazilian Steel Industry Agony in the last 10 years

In the 27th Brazilian Steel Congress, held by the Brazil Steel Institute, industry executives said that the moment is still of high pressure and explained their survival strategies. As a common theme, they all mentioned exports will be the way to survive in the short term.

Benjamin Steinbruch, shareholder and president of Cia. Siderúrgica Nacional (CSN), said he believes the internal market is “the future” of the sector. It is necessary that the government create mechanisms to ensure that competitive conditions are the same as in other countries. He also complained about the high interest rate in the country today.

Questionable government policies in recent years have led to an impoverishment of the country. “It is the highest impoverishment through which a nation has been, without a war”, he said.

The new president of Usiminas, Sergio Leite, explained that the focus of the moment is survival – in the next three to five years this will be the order of the day. Meanwhile, calls for government priority to a program for the processing industry in the country. “Restructure and adapt businesses to market reality [is needed].” The “bottom” is already approaching, but recovery will take time, he said.

André Gerdau Johannpeter pointed out that the current crisis in the sector was announced. For some time, he said, we have been discussing the pressure that the Chinese excess capacity would have on the Brazilian market. According to the president of Gerdau, this oversupply from China will impact even on the next five to ten years.

“In the short term, what we can do is to seek export. There will be no domestic recovery”, Gerdau said. “Without exports, the picture is dramatic: layoffs and closed plants. In the medium and long term, we need structural competitiveness, changes in labor laws and taxes”, he added.

The event also brought experts on China and foreign trade, which said that the recognition of the Asian country as a market economy by the World Trade Organization (WTO) could distort the steel industry and other sectors in the world.

Usha Haley, professor at the University of West Virginia, said Chinese mills have access to cheap and easy capital, while receiving large subsidies from the local government. She believes that Chinas’s ultimate goal is just to increase production and, while maintaining employment and guaranteed volumes in the domestic market, be able to become a major exporter of the material.

Despite the gigantic fall in stock prices over the last 10 years, it’s hard to get positive on this industry. Sure, after so many years of oversupply and depressing costs, one could expect a turnaround and, in fact, all three ADRs are sharply higher in 2016. However, a more consistent recovery seems to be far for this industry.

JBS S.A. upgraded by Fitch Rating to BB+

JBS S.A. (BM&FBOVESPA: JBSS3, OTCQX: JBSAY, “JBS” or “Company”) communicates to its shareholders and to the Market in general that Fitch Ratings (“Fitch”), a rating agency, upgraded JBS S.A. from BB to BB+, with stable outlook.

According to the Fitch report, “the upgrade reflects JBS S.A.’s strong products and geographical diversification, as well as the successful integration of several acquired businesses over the past few years. It also factors in the strengthening of its business profile due to the recent acquisitions in the U.S., Europe and Australia. (…) Further, Fitch expects the company to report strong performance in all of its divisions in 2015 and 2016.”

The report also emphasized that “JBS S.A.’s ratings are supported by its strong business profile as the world’s largest beef and leather producer and its overall product diversification into poultry, beef, pork and to prepared foods.”

This upgrade underlines the Company’s commitment to operational excellence, free cash flow generation, financial discipline and value creation to its shareholders.

JBS Announces the Conclusion of the Acquisition of Moy Park

JBS S.A. (“JBS” or “Company” – BM&FBOVESPA: JBSS3; OTCQX: JBSAY), in continuity to the announcement made in the Material Fact of June 21st, 2015, communicates to its shareholders and to the market in general, pursuant to CVM Instructions No. 10 and 358 of January 3rd 2002, as amended, that it concluded today the acquisition of 100% of the ownership of Moy Park Holdings Europe Ltd. (“Moy Park”).

The Company obtained the necessary regulatory approvals from the competent antitrust authorities, including the European Commission, to conclude the transaction without restrictions.

The closing value was composed by: (i) payment of US$1,212.6 million to Marfrig; and (ii) Moy Park net debt assumed by JBS in the total amount of US$293 million which includes Notes totaling GBP300 million due in 2021. The value paid is slightly higher than the amount of US$1,190 million previously announced due to variation in working capital and in net debt in the period between the signing of the agreement and the closing of the transaction, as originally agreed by the parties.

Moy Park has a history of more than 70 years, being a leader in high value added categories and a reference in the development and innovation of food products. With revenue of R$5.5 billion in 2014, of which 51% came from prepared further processed products, Moy Park customer base includes the main retailers and foodservice chains in UK and Continental Europe.

“This transaction is in line with our global strategy in expanding our portfolio of prepared and convenient food products. In addition, we see potential to expand our customer base in Europe, with a vertically integrated production, with innovation and strong brands”, stated Wesley Batista, Global CEO of JBS.

Brazil downgraded by S&P – loses investment grade

Standard & Poor’s stripped Brazil of its investment-grade credit rating on Wednesday, making it even harder for President Dilma Rousseff to regain market trust and pull Latin America’s largest economy out of recession.

The faster-than-anticipated downgrade, which will likely hit Brazilian financial markets on Thursday, is a major setback for Rousseff as she tries to kick-start the economy and shore up public finances.

S&P cut Brazil’s rating to BB-plus, which denotes substantial credit risk, from BBB-minus. The outlook on the new rating remains negative, which means additional downgrades are possible in the near term.

The stripping of investment grade status, which Brazil won in 2008, represents the loss of a key imprimatur that solidified Brazil’s emergence as an economic power during a decade-long commodities boom that reverted in recent years.

The downgrade is expected to increase borrowing costs for the government and, worse, Brazilian companies. It will also cause Brazilian assets to lose valuable funding because many institutional investors are not allowed to buy or hold onto investments that are not rated investment grade.

S&P said its decision was based on the mounting political problems that have muddled economic policy.

These problems, S&P said, have been weighing on the government’s “ability and willingness” to submit a 2016 budget consistent with the significant policy fixes Rousseff promised after she won re-election last year.

Even though some measures are being taken by pro-marked ministry Levy, he still lacks the political support to make all the needed changes.

When Brazil first got the coveted investment-grade stamp from S&P, after decades of financial volatility, it was considered a star among developing nations.

Leveraging soaring export and tax revenue at the time, the ruling Workers’ Party broadened generous social welfare programs and encouraged lending by public banks, fueling a prolonged consumer boom.

Combined, the measures lifted 40 million people out of poverty. Once Rousseff took office, however, the economy began to slow down sharply and last quarter it officially entered a recession. (Reporting by Walter Brandimarte; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Kieran Murray)

What is yet to be seen is how much of the downgrade was already priced into the exchange rate and asset prices. Both the Brazilian reais and stock markets are down pretty significantly in the last 12 months so a lot of analysts believe it may be a case of “sell the rumor, buy the fact” but time will tell if this is really the case.

JBS S.A. Announces the Successful Syndication of the Financing (Term Loan) for the Acquisition of Cargill Pork Business in the United States

JBS S.A. (BM&FBOVESPA: JBSS3, OTCQX: JBSAY, “JBS” or “Company”) communicates to its shareholders and to the market in general, pursuant to CVM Instruction 358 of January 3, 2002, as amended, that on August 18, 2015, through its indirectly controlled subsidiary, JBS USA, LLC, it has successfully syndicated to the market US$1.2 billion aggregate principal amount of borrowings in the form of incremental term loans to JBS USA, LLC’s existing credit agreement (the “Incremental Term Loans”).  The Incremental Term Loans will have a final maturity of seven years from the date of the Cargill Acquisition (as defined below) and bear interest at a rate equal to the LIBOR rate plus 3.0% (with a minimum LIBOR rate of 1.0%).

The proceeds from the Incremental Term Loans will be used, together with cash on hand, to pay the consideration for the previously announced acquisition of certain assets, properties, and rights of Cargill Meats ownership in Cargill Pork LLC (the “Cargill Acquisition”).  The consummation of the Cargill Acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of requisite antitrust approvals.

The joint bookrunners for the financing were Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated and Rabobank, New York branch.

Petrobras to Pay R$ 2.2 billion to ANP – National Oil Agency

Petrobras (PBR) reported today, after the market close, that the Arbitration Court issued on July 2nd, an interim decision on the arbitration proposal by Petrobras regarding the resolution of ANP (National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels), which considers the concessions Baleia Anã, Baleia Azul, Baleia Franca, Cachalote, Caxaréu, Jubarte and Pirambu as a single field from the second quarter of 2014.

The interim decision determines that Petrobras starts to deposit quarterly, on behalf of ANP, the controversial “special participations”. Based on the current price of oil and the current production in the field, this amount will be approximately R$ 350 million per quarter. “Although the amount is pending confirmation by the parties, the value previously estimated by the ANP is R$ 2.2 billion”, Petrobras said, stressing that “it is a decision of preliminary nature, given that the arbitrage has not decided on the merits of the matter yet”.

More on Petrobras

Petrobras Plans to Raise US$ 6 Billion with Sale of its Distributor, BR Distribuidora

The sale of a slice of BR Distribuidora or attracting a private partner for the company will be the first step in Petrobras’ (PBR) asset sale plan, necessary to reduce the company’s debt level. Last night, the company officially announced this intention. The plan is to try and complete the operation this semester.

BR Distribuidora Gas StationThe state-controlled company considers the possibility of two operations: an IPO (initial public offering) and/ or to attract a partner. The IPO would promote a ‘governance shock’ in the company, which is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Petrobras. The ‘benchmark’ is Ultra Group – Ultrapar (UGP).”

BR Distribuidora is the largest distributor in the country with 7,797 gas stations. It has 36.9% of the fuel market, with sales of R$ 121.7 billion and profit of R$ 1.1 billion in 2014. Ultrapar, which has 7,100 stations, sold R$ 69.7 billion and had a profit of R$ 1.2 billion.

Using the market value of Ultrapar as a reference – today, around 12 times its cash generation (EBITDA) – it is possible to estimate that BR can be worth close to R$ 40 billion. In theory, to sell half of the shares, Petrobras would raise R$ 20 billion (aprox. US 6 billion) However, because it is state owned, investors may demand a reduction in multiples.

In the announced business plan for 2015/2019, Petrobras set a realistic target of increasing oil production – from 2.8 million barrels per day to 4.2 million in 2020. The next step was to announce an ambitious assets sales plan, US$ 58 billion in four years. “We will combine realistic production goal with sale of assets, attract partners, reduce costs and a better way of doing things. We forced this situation on purpose and the announcement about BR is the first major move in that direction”, he said. In the model to attract partners, Petrobras plans to have different partners in different parts of the business.

After the Merge with BG, Shell will have 20% of its Global Production in Brazil

Responsible for the biggest oil industry M&A deal in the past decade, the president of Royal Dutch Shell, Ben van Beurden, does not rule out increasing the company’s exposure in Brazil, expanding the already billionaire investment program that will be put in place following the merger with BG.

After the merger of $ 70 billion is completed, which is expected for early 2016, after regulatory approvals in several countries, Brazil will be the country with the largest stake in Shell’s production portfolio. Even with its partner Petrobras involved in a corruption scandal, the Dutch executive says it is closely watching, but trusts the technical expertise of the state-controlled company.

Beurden estimates that Brazil will account for 20% of global production of the company when some of the projects under development by the two companies

come into operation, including Libra, which Shell has 20%, and the giant pre-salt fields where BG is a partner, like Lula and Sapinhoá, to name a few. The executive points out, however, that the appetite of Shell does not stop there and is willing to increase its presence in Brazil. He does not rule out participating in the 13th Round of the National Petroleum Agency (ANP), scheduled for October.

“I believe that the fundamentals of Brazil are very strong and, particularly, if you look from our perspective, we are investing in a world-class resource. We have to be optimistic. And I am.” he said, concluding that he will “look seriously” to the ANP auction data.

Shell chose Brazil for the annual meeting of its board of directors and the executive committee. A testament to the appetite of the Anglo-Dutch company with the country is that Brazil should stay out of the sale of $ 30 billion of assets, planned program to take place between 2016 and 2018.

Speaking to newspaper Valor Economico, Beurden listed projects in the country, including Raízen distributor partnership with Cosan, and explained that investing in the Libra auction came from the realization that Shell’s participation in E&P was small in the country.

“We always had the perception that our presence was not big enough, considering the size of the country, its reserves, and also due to its geology. We thought we needed to be more exposed to Brazil and the deal with BG will fix it.”

Shell invested $ 35 billion in 2014, largely on the company’s organic growth program. In 2015, the plan is to reduce the investment through cost cutting, forced by falling oil prices.

“We want to take a little advantage of the supply chain weakness. We are putting off investments, renegotiating contracts and, of course, questioning ourselves about some projects”, he said. “But we’re still looking at more than $ 20 billion investment in 2015. In 2016 and beyond it’s hard to predict because we have to consider the portfolio of Shell and BG, combine the two and decide which areas to prioritize.”

It is a fact that Shell will sell some assets, but Beurden ensures that “there will no fire sale”. He said Shell will be investing, with annual program of $35 billion to $40 billion. The expectation for the long term is that oil prices remain in the range of $70 to $90 per barrel. Yesterday a barrel of Brent crude closed at US$ 63.34, for example.

On the asset sale program, the executive said that two main areas, that even justified the merger with BG, will be left out: the areas of exploration and production in deep waters and the integrated gas business, as the company refers to the projects of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG).

The oil and gas projects of unconventional sources should go through further scrutiny. The involvement of Petrobras in what is already one of the biggest investment corruption scandals in the world was discussed before the offer for BG, which is relevant partner of the state-controlled company in the pre-salt.

Beurden says it is “uncomfortable” to read the news involving the Brazilian oil company, but says that as a partner of Petrobras in Libra, Shell did not notice any side effects on the projects.

“Of course when the agreement with BG completes, Petrobras will be an even greater partner. We discussed this a lot with our board before presenting the proposed merger and take a fundamental decision, based on the fact that Petrobras is very important for Brazil. It is a company we know well from a technical and commercial point of view and regard it as a first class company on the technical expertise and competence”, he said.

The executive also said that it was considered the possibility to involve BG in the corruption investigations, since the British company is a partner of the pre-salt areas where took place the projects led by Petrobras’ Service Board, under Renato Duque (arrested by the police) and the snitch Pedro Barusco (head of engineering).

“Up until now, this is clearly not the case. But it is very difficult to have a clear vision. It’s still too soon and you never know what else can come from this investigation”, he said. “We did a due diligence with our counterparts in BG after we discussed the commercial terms and I can say that was the first question we asked. And of course one can only give guarantees based on what they know. And I don’t know what I don’t know. But so far, there is no concrete indication of risk [of BG involvement]”, he said.

Admitting concern over delays in platform delivery schedules, Beurden said the bid for BG suffered a “discount” on the basis of identified problems, which were not enough to stave off Shell. “Our business, in a sense, is risk management. So, we may have surprises, we may have some negative events, but in this context, it’s no different from any other project”.