Rio sells electric utility, investments in distribution

Nov 20, 1996 01:00 AM

Brazil sold its state-run electric utility for $ 587 mm to a consortium of Chilean, Portuguese and Spanish electric companies. Companhia de Eletricidade do Rio de Janeiro, commonly referred to as Cerj, was the first company sold off under the state's ambitious privatisation program which seeks to sell off all state-run companies by 1998. Cerj is one of two electric utilities that serve Rio de Janeiro state, providing electricity mainly to the state's rural areas. The city of Rio de Janeiro is serviced by Light Servicos de Eletricidade S.A. which was held by the federal government and auctioned off to a consortium led by Electricite de France in May. The consortium formed by Chile's Chiletra, Spain's Endesa and Portugal's EDP paid 30.3 % above the minimum bid price of $ 455 mm for 70.3 % of Cerj. 7.8 % of the company will be sold to the company's employees at a discount. Chilectra said the consortium was prepared to invest $ 500 mm over the next five years to improve Cerj's distribution systems and that the consortium planned participate in future electric privatisations in Brazil.

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