Worker can use up to 50% of FGTS to buy Eletrobras shares
Workers who have funds in the FGTS (Fundo de Garantia por Tempo de Serviço) will be able to use up to 50% of the balance to buy Eletrobras shares after the company’s privatization process. The rules were published by Caixa Econômica Federal in January.
The shares will be acquired through “privatization mutual funds”, the same device used by the government for the sale of shares in other state-owned companies, such as Petrobras in 2000. (see below).
The privatization of Eletrobras, confirmed yesterday in the plenary of the TCU (Union Court of Auditors), opened space for the government to issue a public notice for the sale of shares in the company.
According to Caixa’s rules, the minimum amount for investment of FGTS resources in the purchase of Eletrobras shares will be R$ 200. In calculating the maximum amount to be invested, however, the amounts previously invested in other mutual funds will be deducted, such as those linked to Petrobras and Vale.
In other words, the worker who still has FGTS resources invested in Petrobras and Vale shares will be able to invest slightly lower amounts in Eletrobras shares.
A ceiling of R$ 6 billion was established for the global use of FGTS resources in the purchase of Eletrobras shares.
In the FGTS application, the worker can consult the balance available for investment in the mutual fund. It will also be possible to request the debit of part of the FGTS account balance in the application.
If the worker decides to sell the quotas – that is, the shares – in the future, the funds will return to the FGTS.
Who does not have FGTS can buy shares?
The rules for privatization of Eletrobras provide that individuals without funds in the FGTS will also be able to buy shares in the company, with their own funds. In this case, the minimum investment will be BRL 1,000 and the maximum investment will be BRL 1 million.
Petrobras and Vale funds
The Petrobras FGTS Fund was created in 2000, and Vale’s in 2002. They represented an investment option in relation to the yield offered by the government for FGTS resources, of only 3% per year.
“When the government released the Petrobras Fund, you could apply up to 50% of the FGTS account balance. In addition, the fund bought the shares for the worker at a 20% discount on the market value. It was a great deal, but unfortunately, there was no culture of investing in shares among workers”, recalls the president of the NGO Fundo Due ao Trabalhador, Mario Avelino.
The government released up to R$3.5 billion in Petrobras shares for purchase by FGTS funds, but demand was less than half, at R$1.7 billion.
“With Vale funds, it was quite different. As the Petrobras funds were doing very well, the staff rushed to take advantage of the new opportunity. The government released only R$ 1 billion in shares, but the demand was R$ 3 billion. The funds had to be apportioned. Those who asked to invest BRL 1,000 only managed to invest BRL 300”, says Avelino.