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Macquarie is said to leave group bidding for Petrobras pipeline

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Macquarie Group Ltd left a group expected to bid for Petrobras's TAG natural gas pipeline network as the Brazilian oil giant is giving interested parties until April 2 to present their price proposal, people with knowledge of the matter said.

[SAO PAULO] Macquarie Group Ltd left a group expected to bid for Petrobras's TAG natural gas pipeline network as the Brazilian oil giant is giving interested parties until April 2 to present their price proposal, people with knowledge of the matter said.

On the first round of bids, Sydney-based Macquarie led a group with Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC Private Ltd, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Itausa - Investimentos Itau SA, people said at the time. Now, GIC, Itausa and CPPIB are expected to bid without Macquarie, the people said, asking not to be named because the discussions are private.

Macquarie didn't immediately reply to an email seeking comment.

On the first round, French utility Engie SA placed the highest bid with Canadian pension fund Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec, of about US$8 billion. The state-run company released details on the leading offer to the other two competing groups, EIG Global Energy Partners Chief Executive Officer R. Blair Thomas said on the sidelines of CERAWeek by IHS Markit conference in Houston this week. EIG expects all three groups to submit offers, he said.

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The offer price is expected to range between US$8 billion and US$9 billion, according to people directly involved in the process. EIG is bidding 50-50 with Mubadala Development Co.

Petrobras Chief Executive Officer Roberto Castello Branco said in a March 10 interview that the sale could be finalised soon and that it could be the company's biggest-ever asset divestment. He also said that as many as three groups were competing. Engie Chief Executive Officer Isabelle Kocher said Feb 28 that the company was still interested in TAG.

The pipeline network, Transportadora Associada de Gas, spans 10 states in northern Brazil, and is a main part of the company's plans to sell about US$27 billion of assets to help it slash debt and focus more resources on its core offshore oil production.

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