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UPDATE 3-Brazil's Novonor resumes sale of petrochemical producer Braskem

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Tatiana Bautzer and Carolina Mandl
·1 min read
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(Adds share performance)

By Tatiana Bautzer and Carolina Mandl

SAO PAULO, April 8 (Reuters) - Brazilian engineering company Novonor, formerly known as Odebrecht SA, said on Thursday it had resumed contacts with bidders to sell its controlling stake in petrochemical producer Braskem SA.

Proceeds of the sale will pay the conglomerate's creditors, mainly the largest banks, as set forth in agreements with creditors within the bankruptcy protection process.

Novonor paused discussions with Lyondell Basell Industries NV over the Braskem sale two years ago, when Braskem was under fire over environmental problems related to its mining activities in the northeastern city of Maceio.

Braskem was also involved in discussions of its corruption plea agreement and delayed publication of its 20-F form with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The shares were briefly delisted due to the delay.

Now that these problems are solved, Novonor's financial adviser has contacted Lyondell Basell, within a group of companies that includes strategic and financial investors, to gauge interest in the petrochemical producer.

Novonor said in its statement it is "working to execute the agreements with its creditors and proceeding with the Braskem sale process, reaching out to potential bidders for its 38.3% stake in the company, equivalent to a 50.1% voting stake".

The company's financial adviser, Morgan Stanley, is beginning to make contact with potential bidders, according to one source with knowledge of the matter, who requested anonymity.

After rising more than 6% on Wednesday, Braskem preferred shares were down 0.8% in midmorning trading, at 44.30 reais.

Brazilian newspaper Valor Economico reported the resumption of the sale process earlier on Thursday. (Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer and Carolina Mandl; Editing by Toby Chopra, Andrew Heavens, Bernadette Baum and Jonathan Oatis)