Brazil’s Petrobras axes 12,000 jobs

Petrobras, Brazil’s state-run oil producer, has said it will cut 12,000 jobs by 2020 to get out from under its $130 billion debt. Following various price-fixing and bribery scandals, the layoffs will aim to save $9 billion at the company.

The company – long one of Brazil’s biggest employers with more than 80,000 workers throughout the country – reported its biggest quarterly loss to date in the final three months of last year totalling $10.2 billion.

The corruption scandal that Petrobras was involved in still affects confidence in the business. Some former Petrobras executives have been jailed, and even the Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who was on the board of the company at the time of the offenses, was implicated. Ms Rousseff is facing the possibility of impeachment on unrelated charges of false accounting. 57 people linked to Brazil’s Petrobras scandal also feature in the Mossack Fonseca leak – known as the Panama Papers – which were made available last month.

In January police raided Mossack Fonseca offices in São Paulo. Authorities say the firm opened offshore companies for two former Petrobras executives convicted of money laundering and corruption last year. Authorities say the companies were used to hide funds illegally diverted from Petrobras.

As a company that straddles the fence between a publicly traded and a state run enterprise, Petrobras’ fate is going to be deeply tied to the outcome of corruption probes aimed at the current Brazilian president as well as her predecessor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.