NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Brazil's state-owned oil company Petrobras  (PBR) were gaining in mid-afternoon trading on Thursday as Brazil is close to approving a bill that would allow greater foreign investment in the country's offshore oil fields. 

Brazil's lower house of Congress yesterday approved the bill, which will require a number of amendments before going to President Michel Temer, the Wall Street Journal reported. Temer has signaled that he will sign the bill.

The current law was created to keep profits in Brazil, and required Petrobras to be the lead operator and hold at least a 30% share of drilling projects.

Proponents of the new bill claim that it will attract new capital from foreign oil companies as Petrobras contends with the biggest debt load within the energy sector. Those who oppose the bill say it will be a setback for the company, which remains a symbol of Brazilian pride.

"I think this will bring opportunity for growth where Petrobras, in this moment, doesn't have even the resources to develop all the opportunities...that we have in Brazil," Demien Fiocca, managing partner at private-equity firm Mare Investimentos, told the Journal. "This is a way of speeding things up."

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates the stock as a "sell" with a ratings score of D+.

Petrobras's weaknesses include its generally high debt management risk, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and feeble growth in its earnings per share.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: PBR

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