Brazil investment powerhouse launches new oil, biofuel company

By Susanne Retka Schill | August 23, 2012

Brazil’s ethanol industry will be closely following the launch of a new company created by Brasilinvest. Announced this week by the country’s leading investment bank, BOB-Brasilinvest Oil, Gas and Biofuel will be under the leadership of Paulo Roberto Costa, former director of Petrobras.

In its announcement, Brasilinvest called attention to the “rising interest on sugarcane biofuel” and the discovery of a massive, pre-salt layer at the Brazilian coast. The new company will support “the logistics and infrastructure of the oil and fuel sector following the priority established by former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, widened by president Dilma Rousseff, and executed by Petrobras's president, Graca Foster. “

There are no specific ethanol projects in the portfolio as yet, according to Daniela Abade, communications manager for the Brazilinvest Group. “Of course, we are aiming to have this, and because of Mr. Garnero’s history, we will be very demanding on choosing these projects.”

She is referring to Mario Garnero, chairman of Brasilinvest, who is known as Brazil’s “Father of Ethanol.” Garnero was a pioneer on the use of ethanol in Brazil, when he chaired the National Automakers Association in 1979. He also sat on Brazil’s National Commission on Energy, which oversaw the implementation of a pro ethanol program. Garnero spearheaded the adoption of E100, and called together the presidents of the auto industry of Brazil to begin sales of E100-capable vehicles.

The company’s announcement on the creation of BOB said Garnero believes that this is more than the launch of a new company, it is the best statement that Brasilinvest Group can make to its investors: "Brazil is no longer an emerging country; it is now a power house that will fuel up the world with new ideas and solutions in this century."

“The role BOB expects to take is of the major gateway for international investors on oil, gas and biofuel in Brazil,” Abade said. “And also will be the ticket for Brazilian investors for their own globalization in the sector.”

In Garnero’s biography on its website, it says the Brasilinvest group has attracted investments in the range of $16 billion to Brazil, it currently manages $6 billion in its project portfolio and has a net worth in excess of $1.3 billion.  Brasilinvest has partners from 16 countries, many of whom are minority shareholders. Garnero is principal shareholder of the group that began in 1975 as a merchant bank.