Brazil plans special July auction for 3,580-MW Santo Antonio

Brazilian officials have changed plans, earmarking the 3,580-MW Santo Antonio hydroelectric project for its own concession auction in which federal utilities will not participate.

Although the government had been preparing to include Santo Antonio in the upcoming May power and concession auction, a spokesman for Brazil’s Ministry of Mines and Energy told Business News Americas the change will allow preparation of special bidding rules to increase competition. (HNN 1/19/07)

�With a strategic project this size, you need special conditions,� the spokesman said.

He said Santo Antonio’s sister project on the Madeira River, 3,300-MW Jirau, could be offered for concession at the end of 2007 or in early 2008.

Although federally owned companies will not be allowed to bid for Santo Antonio, they could take a non-controlling stake of up to 49 percent after the concession has been granted, the official said. Those companies could include utilities Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras S/A (Eletrobras), Furnas Centrais Eletricas, and Eletricas do Norte do Brasil (Eletronorte), as well as BNDESPAR, the investment banking arm of the national development bank.

The official said Brazilian engineer Odebrecht, which carried out feasibility and environmental studies of Santo Antonio with Furnas, is interested in bidding. Others reportedly interested are Camargo Correa, Alusa, Schahin, and CITIC of China.

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