Petrobras Surges to World’s Fifth-Largest Company on Oil Rally



Petrobras Surges to World’s Fifth-Largest Company on Oil Rally

By Michael Patterson

Oct. 16 (Bloomberg) — Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil’s state-controlled oil producer, surpassed China Mobile Ltd. and China Construction Bank Corp. this week to become the world’s fifth-largest company by market value.

Petrobras’s market capitalization rose to 353.9 billion reais ($208 billion) as the company’s preferred shares gained 2.7 percent since Oct. 9 and common shares added 3.5 percent. That compares with $203.8 billion at China Mobile, the world’s biggest phone company, and $203.1 billion at China Construction Bank, the nation’s second-largest lender, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Rio de Janeiro-based Petrobras has surged 60 percent this year, the biggest gain among the world’s 10 largest companies, as oil jumped 73 percent and Chief Executive Officer Jose Sergio Gabrielli said last month proven oil reserves may more than double in two to three years to as much as 35 billion barrels. A rally in Brazil’s real to near the strongest level in 13 months is helping to boost the dollar value of Petrobras as foreign investors pour money into Latin America’s largest economy.

“You’ve got a Brazilian effect, an oil effect and on top of that you’ve got the amazing prospect of deepwater discoveries,” Bill Rudman, a money manager who helps oversee about $3 billion including Petrobras shares at Blackfriars Asset Management in London, said in an interview. “It’s a powerful combination.”

The market value of Petrobras has climbed above Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Procter & Gamble Co., International Business Machines Corp., Johnson & Johnson, BP Plc, General Electric Co., Royal Dutch Shell Plc, JPMorgan Chase & Co., BHP Billiton Ltd., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and HSBC Holdings Plc this year, along with China Mobile and China Construction Bank.

Bovespa Rally

Exxon Mobil Corp. of Irving, Texas, is the world’s largest company with a market capitalization of $350.5 billion, followed by Beijing-based PetroChina Co., Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. and Microsoft Corp. of Redmond, Washington, according to Bloomberg data.

The rally in Petrobras shares helped send Brazil’s benchmark Bovespa index to a 78 percent gain this year, compared with a 63 percent rally in China’s Shanghai Composite Index and a 21 percent advance in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. Brazil’s real has strengthened 36 percent against the dollar for the biggest increase among major developing-nation currencies.

Petrobras preferred shares trade for 10.9 times the average of analysts’ 2010 earnings estimates compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with 12.5 times for Exxon Mobil and 11.6 times for PetroChina.

Petrobras plans to invest about $170 billion in the next five years to boost crude output by 53 percent. The company is spending billions to tap offshore oil deposits including the Tupi field, the largest discovery in the Americas since Mexico’s Cantarell in 1976.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Patterson in London at

Last Updated: October 16, 2009 07:51 EDT

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