Nationalistic and free market advisers to Brazil presidential front-runner Jair Bolsonaro are deeply divided about the future of the Petrobras (PBR +3.2%) state-run oil company, foreshadowing a showdown over divestments and fuel subsidies, Reuters reports.
Adviser Paulo Guedes, a banker educated at the University of Chicago, has said he favors full privatization of PBR, and others believe Bolsonaro would promote a business-friendly agenda such as asset sales to reduce the company’s $74B net debt.
But an increasingly vocal cadre of military generals stressing the importance of maintaining PBR as a strategic asset have shown growing influence, according to the report.
Bolsonaro himself supported this year's truckers strike over rising diesel prices and voted as a legislator to preserve the company’s monopoly on exploration and production, but as a candidate he has taken a wide range of stances.
In a recent interview, Bolsonaro said he opposed privatizing PBR but still could reluctantly move to end the company’s “monopoly” in Brazil that he said gave it excessive pricing power.