UPDATE - Canada developer agrees to acquire Brazil's 156-MW Itiquira

Canada's Brookfield Asset Management announced December 21 it agreed to acquire Itiquira Energetica S.A., operator of Brazil's 156-MW Itiquira hydroelectric project, from NRG Energy of the United States for US$288 million.

Brookfield said the acquisition, being carried out by its Brookfield Power subsidiary, is for 99.22 percent of the common shares and 100 percent of the Series C preferred shares of Itiquira Energetica, which operates the hydro plant on the Itiquira River in Brazil's Mato Grosso State.

Brookfield said completion of the deal is subject to receipt of regulatory approval and other closing conditions. Closing is expected in the first quarter of 2008,

With the addition of Itiquira, Brookfield will have an operating portfolio in Brazil of 28 hydro projects, mainly in the south, southeastern, and midwestern regions of the country. It has another six hydro projects under construction totaling almost 150 MW and a development pipeline of more than 700 MW.

"In addition to building on our 100-plus years of successfully owning and operating hydroelectric facilities in Brazil, the Itiquira facility also expands our operating presence in Mato Grosso State, where we will own and operate three hydroelectric facilities with a generating capacity of almost 200 MW," Brookfield Asset Management Managing Partner Richard Legault said.

In 2004, Brazil's national development bank, Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Economico e Social (BNDES), approved an 85 million reais (US$29 million) loan for Itiquira Energetica to build the hydro project and a 100-kilometer transmission line.

The board of Brazil utility Companhia Paranaense de Energia Eletrica (Copel) previously said it had authorized negotiations toward the acquisition of a controlling stake in Itiquira Energetica from Tosli Acquisitions B.V., a unit of NRG Energy.

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