Brazilian state-run oil giant Petrobras on Thursday released its 2017 balance sheets, showing a R$446 million loss, its fourth net loss in a row. The company said the losses were due chiefly to settlement of a class action suit in the United States brought by holders of Petrobras bonds and shares. The stakeholders alleged steep losses because of corrupt practices at Petrobras over a number of years. Petrobras agreed to pay the plaintiffs R$11.2 billion, with much of it coming due in the fourth quarter of 2017. The company posted a quarterly loss of R$5.5 billion in the fourth quarter. The company said it also faced a heavy schedule of debt payments in 2017. Overall losses in 2017 were greatly reduced from the previous year. In 2016, Petrobras posted a net loss of R$14.8 billion. The company said 2018 performance should improve, based on rising crude oil and natural gas production, higher fuel prices, cost cutting and asset sales. The company said it reduced its net debt in 2017 by 11% to R$281 billion, which will mean less onerous debt-service payments this year.
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