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Brookfield Asset Management in Talks to Acquire Sabesp, São Paulo’s State Sanitation Company

1 March 2019

Canadian asset management firm, Brookfield Asset Management is in talks to acquire Sabesp, the São Paulo state sanitation company. The deal is subject to new regulatory framework for the sanitation sector.

(Reuters) Canadian asset manager Brookfield Asset Management Inc is looking for additional targets in Brazil after a recent wave of acquisitions, including Sao Paulo state sanitation company Sabesp, a source familiar with the plans told Reuters.

Sao Paulo’s government, which took office in January, wants to privatize several companies to raise some 3 billion reais ($794 million). Among the targeted divestments is its controlling stake in Sabesp, one of the world’s largest sanitation companies serving 28 million people.

“Brookfield is looking at it. It depends on the privatization modeling and price,” said the source, who asked not to be named because discussions were private.

Brookfield and its subsidiaries have made nearly a dozen major acquisitions in Brazil since 2013. The companies have spent about $10 billion on energy, infrastructure and real estate assets during the country’s deepest recession.

The source said an eventual deal related to Sabesp is subject to a new legal framework for the sanitation sector which is being discussed in Congress.

Oil refining is another area the Canadian company is evaluating as state-controlled oil company Petróleo Brasileiro S.A., or Petrobras, seeks to attract partners in that business, the source added.

Brookfield and partners paid $5.2 billion in 2016 for a controlling stake in Petrobras subsidiary NTS, which operates a network of gas pipelines in Brazil.

A possible refining deal would depend on Petrobras’ final proposal for interested investors, the source said.