UPDATE 2-Brazil sells rights to run 29 hydropower plants for $4.51 bln
* China's Three Gorges to pay $3.66 bln to run two large plants
* Brazil's Cemig to pay $586 mln to run 18 smaller installations
* Auction seen as important for Brazil's government accounts (Adds final numbers for auction, comments from subsidiary CFO)
By Luciano Costa and Marcelo Teixeira
SAO PAULO, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Brazil sold operation rights for all the existing hydropower plants it offered to power companies and investors in an auction on Wednesday for 17 billion reais ($4.51 billion), taking an important step to reorganize the power sector and to boost its accounts before the year ends.
The Brazilian government promoted the auction to find new operators for 29 hydropower installations with expired or nearly expired licenses, aiming also to raise crucial revenue for its depleted coffers amid a harsh fiscal adjustment.
From the total 17 billion reais to be paid by the auction's winners, 11 billion reais should enter the state coffers in December, said Jose Jurhosa, a director with the sector regulator Aneel.
Power sector experts said before the auction that the round would hold attractive assets, but regulatory uncertainties could hamper investors' interest.
Power company China Three Gorges Corp was the star participant in the round after agreeing to pay 13.8 billion reais to run the two largest dams on offer. Continuación...