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Brazilian state-controlled oil company Petrobras reversed its losses in the fourth quarter of last year, reporting a profit of R$2.51bn compared with a loss during the previous three months of R$16.46bn.

The recovery helped reduce the company`s full-year loss to R$14.82bn compared with R$34.84bn a year earlier, the company said.

Petrobras, which is at the centre of Brazil’s biggest corruption scandal, in which former directors collaborated with politicians and contractors to extract bribes from the company, has also been rocked by falling oil prices in recent years.

Its chief executive officer, Pedro Parente, the former Brazil head of US-based agricultural group Bunge, has sought to turn the company around through asset sales, reduced investments and by slashing costs.

The company said sales were R$282.59bn in 2016, down 12 per cent from a year earlier.

Exports in the fourth quarter rose 12 per cent, totalling 634,000 barrels per day, turning the company into a net exporter in 2016.

The company also reduced investments by 32 per cent, enabling it to reduce its borrowings, one of the biggest corporate debtloads in the world, by 20 per cent to $96.4bn.

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