Brazil is the majority shareholder and is responsible for controlling Petrobras, contrary to what the post says

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Misleading: The post on Facebook according to which “Petrobras is no longer from Brazil” is misleading. The content, which is based on a 2008 news item about the purchase of shares by the Hungarian-American investor George Soros, is out of context and with outdated figures, without explaining that the publicly traded company is controlled by the Brazilian government, which holds more than 50% of the common shares. The publication also tries to deceive the reader by associating the purchase of shares with successive increases in fuel prices in the country.

Investigated Content: post on facebook states that “Petrobras is no longer from Brazil” and uses as an argument a news item stating that investor George Soros bought shares in the state-owned company. The content tries to associate such information with the increase in prices paid by Brazilians at gas stations.

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where it was published: Facebook.

Completion of Proof: The post on Facebook that highlights the title of a report stating that billionaire George Soros bought more than R$ 1 billion in Petrobras shares and that the company “is no longer from Brazil” is misleading. The content is out of context and tries to make the reader believe that the purchase of shares is responsible for the company’s pricing policy.

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The publication also does not explain that Soros sold, after negotiations over eight years, all of his Petrobras shares in 2016. In any case, even if the investor continued with the shares, this would not make him controller of the Brazilian company. Control of the oil company belongs to the federal government, which holds more than 50% of the company’s common shares.

Petrobras is a publicly traded company and its bylaws define it as a mixed capital company, under federal control for an indefinite period.

misleading, for Comprova, is content taken from the original context and used in another so that its meaning undergoes changes; that uses inaccurate data or that leads to an interpretation different from the author’s intention; content that confuses, with or without the deliberate intent to cause harm.

Scope of publication: The post was shared 1,400 times on Facebook and had over 1.1 comments and likes as of June 29.

What the author of the publication says: The author of the publication did not respond to Comprova’s inquiry until the closing of this check.

How do we check: Through analyzes on websites specialized in the stock market in Brazil and abroad, and also on Google, it was possible to access information on the current situation of Petrobras, as well as the position of George Soros in the market. Comprova also sought advice from Petrobras.


According to information on Petrobras’ official website, the company is publicly traded and its capital is made up of shares or quotas that can be purchased on the market. The company’s bylaws define it as a mixed capital company, under the control of the Union for an indefinite period. The Union’s control is exercised through the ownership and possession of at least 50%, plus one share, of the Company’s voting capital. It is possible to be a shareholder of the company as an individual or legal investor, Brazilian or foreign, resident or not in the country.

Comprova sought advice from Petrobras to gain access to the names of its current investors, but was informed that it would only be possible to pass on public content present on the company’s portal. The site does not show the names of all investors, it only highlights the shareholding composition general until the month of May. It is possible to verify that the controlling group of the company is the federal government, with 50.26% of the common shares.

stock exchange trading

Petrobras shares are traded on the Ibovespa, the main index of the Brazilian Stock Exchange. Shareholders can receive a portion of the company’s profit in the form of dividends. Anyone who trades Petrobras shares has an account with a stockbroker accredited by the Securities and Exchange Commission (CVM). Outside Brazil, it is also possible to acquire shares through the intermediation of a brokerage in purchase and sale operations.

In the market, Petrobras shares are represented by acronyms such as PETR. Usually, the company’s shares are traded in lots. It is common for an investor to buy every 100 shares (lot size).

There is also the possibility of purchasing unitary securities (from 1 to 99 shares) through the fractional market. For this, an F must be added to the end of the action code to configure the investment in this way. In the case of Petrobras, it would be PETR3F (common shares with voting rights on the Board) or PETR4F (preferred shares with receipt of dividends, but without voting rights).

Soros at Petrobras

The negotiations of George Soros involving Petrobras papers take place since 2008when, in the second quarter of that year, acquired approximately US$ 811 million in shares of the company. The tycoon bought and sold shares in the company for eight years. The last sale took place in 2016, when it sold all of its remaining shares in the fourth quarter. At the moment, he no longer owns any shares of Petróleo Brasileiro SA.

The image below the portal stockcircle.coma website that details the portfolio of investors, shows the buying and selling periods and the amount of shares held by the Brazilian company in the hands of Soros’ investment fund as of 2009.

By searching for the name of Soros’ company, it is possible to access information about dates and shares traded. Comprova did not find the 2008 negotiation on this portal, which gave rise to the investigated post, but it is possible to verify that, in June 2022, George Soros no longer owns Petrobras shares.

the website of stockcircle indicates that the magnate’s last negotiations involving the Brazilian company’s shares took place in the penultimate and last quarter of 2016. At that time, Soros purchased 987,000 shares at a unit price of $7.52 and sold them all at the end of the same year for $9.5 each.

Comprova also searched for information on other foreign websites specialized in stocks, including the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), the US capital market regulator. There, we tried to see if it was possible to obtain the full list of Soros’ papers today. The SEC said it would not be able to comply with the request.

On the investment portal, you can access the stock list of Soros’ portfolio until March 31 of this year. None Petrobras action was located during the search.

Petrobras Board

At Petrobras’ decisions are the responsibility of the company’s board of directors, which has the federal government as controller. Approval of names or fuel pricing policy, for example, is defined by its members. Adjustments to fuel prices at refineries are the responsibility of the Executive Group for Markets and Prices, made up of the company’s president, the refining and natural gas director and the financial and investor relations director.

This means that the fact that George Soros bought more than R$ 1.5 billion in Petrobras preferred shares in 2008 did not qualify him as the main voice in the company’s destiny. Even if he bought all the common shares possible today, with the right to vote on the Board, he would not be above the Union, as he would have less than 50% of the company.

pricing policy

Petrobras’ current pricing policy was adopted by the company in 2016, period of Michel Temer’s government (MDB). At that time, the executive board defined that it would not charge prices below some international parities.

It was a response to the policy of damming prices practiced by the state-owned company during the second term of Dilma Rousseff (PT), from 2011 to 2014. This policy allowed the company to hold prices in Brazil when there were large increases in the international market, but on certain occasions it could reduce the company’s profit or cause losses.

from 2016the values ​​of diesel and gasoline began to take into account two factors:

1 – The International Parity Price (PPI), which links the values ​​practiced in Brazil to those existing in the international market, calculated in dollars, and which includes costs such as ship freight, internal transport costs and port fees;

2 – The margin used to remunerate risks inherent to the operation. In this case, it encompasses the volatility of the exchange rate and prices on stays in ports and profit, in addition to taxes.

With the change, the deadline for making adjustments in relation to the international market has changed. The policy adopted in 2016 provides for evaluations for price revisions at least once a month.

With the recent rise, the price policy came to be criticized by President Jair Bolsonaro himself and also by the president of the Chamber, Arthur Lira (PP-AL). As of 2021, the company is in its fourth president. After Roberto Castello Branco, Joaquim Silva and Luna and José Mauro Ferreira Coelho left, Caio Mário Paes de Andrade has been in office since June 28.

on the website of Petrobras, the company informs how the formation of the price of the liter of gasoline occurs giving the example of the average price in the country.

On June 28, the amount was BRL 7.39composed as follows:

  • BRL 1.03 (13.9%): distribution and resale
  • BRL 0.96 (13.0%): anhydrous ethanol cost
  • BRL 1.75 (23.7): state tax
  • BRL 0.69 (9.3%): federal taxes
  • BRL 2.96 (40.1%): Petrobras share

why do we investigate: Comprova investigates content about the pandemic, elections and public policies that reach a high degree of virality on social networks. With the election period approaching, the number of contents published on social networks that try to confuse or deceive the public also grows. The price of fuel, in addition to being an important issue at the federal level, has become an electoral agenda. Misleading information such as the one investigated here can lead the reader to misinterpret the subject.

Other checks on the topic: The price of fuel in Brazil has been the target of approaches in the most different formats on the internet. In the first half of the year, Comprova already carried out verifications of various viral contents. In one of them, a video took data out of context and deceived about purchasing power in the Lula and Bolsonaro governments. Another Comprova publication showed that the payment of compensation to the US court did not influence gasoline price. In another recent check, it was possible to reach the conclusion that it was not by Aldo Rebelo audio that blamed Lula for high fuel.

Investigated by North Portal. Verified by Correio dos Carajás, CNN Brasil, Estadão, A Gazeta, Folha de S. Paulo, Plural Curitiba, Metrópoles, Nexo, SBT and SBT News.

Source: CNN Brasil

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