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Japan's Mitsui invests in 3,750-MW Jirau hydroelectric project

Jirau Hydropower Project

Capital investment and trading conglomerate Mitsui & Co. has announced it will acquire about 20% equity of ESBR Participacoes S.A., owner of Brazil's 3,750-MW Jirau hydroelectric project, per an agreement with GDF Suez.

HydroWorld.com reported that GDF Suez had increased its share in the run-of-river plant to 60% in October 2012 by purchasing shares previously owned by civil contractor Camargo Correa.

"The transaction further expands the long-term partnership between Mitsui and GDF Suez, following a successful track record of joint investment and cooperation," Mitsui said in a release. "The Jirau transaction represents an extension of this partnership to Latin America, and a joint strategy of accelerating developments in fast growing markets and expanding their renewable portfolios."

The Tokyo-based company said the investment in Jirau is only the first it expects to make in Brazil, where a new subsidiary will be established to manage the group's Latin America portfolio.

Brazil's Institute of the Environment and Natural Resources (Ibama) granted an operating license for the hydropower plant in October 2012.

The Jirau project is located on the Madeira River in northern Brazil. Full commercial operation with all 50 of the plant's hydro turbines is expected to begin in 2015.

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