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• On January 28 Brazilian miner Vale SA said the company will curb dividends for shareholders and halt bonuses for managers as it braces for the financial fallout of the collapse of a tailings dam at the Feijao mine in the rural state of Minas Gerais. The accident was Vale’s second fatal disaster since 2015 when the Samarco mine spewed billions of gallons of waste. The stock plunged 18.0 percent after the news.
• On February 22 Mexico’s largest media company Gruppo Televisa SAB concluded that it will not be selling or spinning off core assets due to lack of value creation for the shareholders. In October 2017, management announced a plan to review where to best allocate Televisa’s capital, including a possible spinoff of its cable division. The review considered tax implications, loss of synergies, and the vertical-integration model seen in media companies around the world. Gruppo Televisa’s shares fell 8.4 percent after the announcement.
• On March 11 the CEO of Petroleo Brasileiro SA (commonly known as Petrobras) announced that the company may finalize the sale of the giant natural gas pipeline network in its biggest ever asset divestment deal. Petrobras also expected to announce a possible sale of a multibillion-dollar stake in plastics maker Braskem, offload shares of the gas-station business, and sell some of the Brazilian oil refineries. The potential deals are part of a push by the company to
sell about $27 billion of assets to help pay off debt and move away from non-essential businesses to focus on core offshore oil production business. The news was positively received by investors and Petrobras’ shares rose 5.9 percent on the day.
• On March 18 Ecopetrol SA, Columbia’s state-controlled oil company, announced the highest earnings since 2013 of 11.6 trillion pesos ($3.9 billion), a 75 percent increase from 2017, as higher oil prices in 2018 boosted revenue. The board announced a distribution of 80 percent of its 2018 earnings to shareholders. Columbia owns 88.5 percent of the company with most of the distribution being transferred to the central government which will boost fiscal income. The stock was up 4.1 percent after the earnings report.
• On March 19 Brazilian technology firm StoneCo Ltd. reported a doubling of the number of active clients in the Fourth Quarter 2018 and posted revenue and net income that beat analysts’ estimates. Fourth Quarter net income was 155.9 million reais compared to expectations of 140 million reais. The total payment volume for the quarter rose by 74 percent. StoneCo’s shares jumped 18.4 percent on the day.