It is premature to assess which direction the government will take for state-owned companies, says president of Itaúsa – 2/23/2021 – Market

The businessman Alfredo Setubal, president of Itaúsa, which controls companies like Itaú Unibanco and Alpargatas, said that it is still too early to assess what direction the current government will take in the management of state companies that are under the control of the Union.

“What happened in the past few days has taken the entire market by surprise, and it is clear that it causes some concern to investors about what type of policy the government can adopt in relation to its state-owned companies,” he said when assessing President Jair’s interference. Bolsonaro (without a party) in the fuel and energy pricing policy, as well as in the change of Petrobras president.

“But we will see how this will actually be conducted over the next few months, as it is premature to have a real vision of what might eventually happen”, said the businessman in an interview with journalists this Tuesday (23) during the presentation of results of the Itaúsa.

As a pure holding company (created to control other companies), Itaúsa recorded a profit of R $ 7.1 billion in 2020, a drop of 31.6% in relation to the previous year.

Last Friday (19), Bolsonaro appointed General Joaquim Silva and Luna to chair Petrobras, replacing Roberto Castello Branco. The indication was seen by the market as an attempt by the government to interfere in the company’s fuel price policy, causing a fall in the negotiations of the state’s shares.

In the days that followed, Bolsonaro also spoke of “putting your finger on electricity” and promised new changes.

According to Setubal, the economic and political scenario tends to be volatile in the coming months, even given the scenario of elections next year, but the movement is natural in the country.

“Volatility is part of the game. We are long-term investors and we look to Brazil’s potential in doing business and bringing investments, “he said.” We believe that many opportunities will continue to appear and that the concession process should continue regardless of any general direction that may be given, because the government has difficulty in making the necessary investments. ”

The businessman also stated that Itaúsa is already eyeing possible investments in infrastructure and sanitation and also in the health area.

“We have been looking at sectors that have the most defined regulatory frameworks. We see a great opportunity for growth in sanitation and we have also looked at some alternatives in the health sector. We still haven’t found anything with the price and the right perspective, but we are looking ahead, ”he said.

Regarding economic growth, Itaúsa follows the same line as Itaú’s projections. This year, it projects an advance of between 3% and 4% for GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Setubal stated that this is a result that is still below the world average, but that translates into good opportunities for the company.

“We believe that some reforms can be approved and that this makes investments more secure. But we also do not rule out the country’s fiscal difficulties and the volatility of the local and international economy, ”he said.

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