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UPDATE - Brazil utility to invest in three projects totaling 285 MW

Brazil utility Light S.A. plans to invest 630 million reais (US$347.4 million) to develop three hydroelectric projects totaling 285 MW.

Light officials said October 16 that the utility plans to expand its generating capacity by 28 percent with the construction of the 30-MW Paracambi, 60-MW Lajes, and 195-MW Itaocara hydro projects. Light said Paracambi and Lajes are expected to be completed by 2010, followed by Itaocara in 2012.

Light Finance Vice President Ronnie Vaz Moreira said the estimated 630 million reais investment is a priority for Light to maintain a high level of service to consumers while growing the company to the benefit of shareholders.

Brazil's development bank, Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimiento Economica e Social (BNDES), announced October 16 that it approved financing of 549.3 million reais (US$302.9 million) for Light.

The funds are for an investment program through December 2008 for expansion and modernization of distribution, transmission, and generation. Light said the money will not be part of the 630 million reais invested in Paracambi, Lajes, and Itaocara, which will be developed on a project finance basis.

BNDES is providing the money for indirect loans to Light by a consortium of banks led by Brazil's Unibanco. BNDES said 521.7 million reais (US$287.7 million) will go to Light unit Light Servicios de Eletricidade S.A., while 27.6 million reais (US$15.2 million) will go to Light Energia S.A.

Light said the BNDES funding will go to modernization and automation of Light Energia generating plants, enlargement of the Light Servicios distribution system, and improvements in substations, transformers, and other facilities.

Light S.A. Chief Executive Jose Luiz Alqueres said October 10 that Light wants to participate in the December 10 concession auction for the 3,150-MW Santo Antonio hydroelectric project on the Madeira River. However, he said private power companies cannot compete equally with state-owned utilities in auctions for big hydropower project concessions. (HNN 10/23/07)
Updating concession auction date.

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