Indian tycoon plans to invest $2.5 billion in Brazil oil and gas


LONDON (Bloomberg) -- Videocon Industries Ltd., an Indian maker of consumer electronics with ambitions to become a major energy producer, plans to invest as much as $2.5 billion over three years in Brazilian oilfields, Chairman Venugopal Dhoot said.

The scope for oil from its blocks in the South American country is four times higher than the largest field in India and the company will pursue expanding its energy operations there, the billionaire said in an interview in London.

“It is just the beginning,” said Dhoot, who sold Videocon’s 10% stake in a Mozambique natural gas field for $2.5 billion to two state-owned Indian explorers in 2013.

Dhoot, 64, is seeking to reposition Videocon as an oil & gas explorer with stakes in at least eight hydrocarbon blocks in countries including Indonesia and East Timor. It is exploring “more and more,” with mergers and acquisitions being one of the key opportunities, the company said in its annual report last month.

In an interview published June 23 in India’s Mint newspaper, Dhoot said the Aurangabad, Maharashtra-based company will be known as an oil and gas firm. In the 18-month accounting period ended Dec. 31, consumer durables accounted for 90% of the 171 billion rupees ($2.7 billion) in sales, according to company filings. He plans to reverse this in the next three years, he told the paper.

Videocon owns stakes in 10 exploration blocks in Brazil through a joint venture with an upstream unit of Indian refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp. Many of them are operated by state-owned Petroleo Brasileiro, which is selling assets to reduce debt that stands at an industry-high of $125 billion.

Petrobras invited a small group of international companies with offshore experience to bid for stakes in some concessions, including pre-salt blocks, people with knowledge of the matter said last month.

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