The company board has approved the buyback operation, the statement said. The preferred shares that will be bought back will represent 4.9% of the company's total stock.
The shares' value will be determined in the market during the period of the buyback transaction, which will last 365 days. The board approved plans to hire 10 banks to monitor the operation, the statement said.
Petrobras has 1.85 billion non-voting shares, of which 14.2% are in the hands of small investors in Brazil and abroad as depositary receipts and another 36.2% are traded on the NYSE as ADRS.
The federal government owns 15.5% of preferred shares but exercises its control through a 67% voting-right stake.
Preferred shares traded in Brazil are valued at 47 reais (US$22). ADRs are valued at US$88.
Petrobras said that the buyback operation would not impact the company's 2007-11, US$87bn strategic investment program.
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