Brazil to reschedule sale of Celg-D, cut price to lure bidders
By Marcela Ayres and Guillermo Parra-Bernal
BRASILIA/SAO PAULO Aug 16 (Reuters) - The Brazilian government has rescheduled an auction to sell state-controlled Centrais Elétricas de Goiás SA as potential bidders failed to present some requirements within a deadline, signaling feeble interest for the ailing power distributor.
In a statement, the Mines and Energy Ministry said some of the companies that had shown preliminary interest in the company known as Celg-D did not present the financial guarantees needed to participate in the auction. The sale, which was scheduled for Friday, was expected to raise at least 2.8 billion reais ($881 million).
Two lawmakers with direct knowledge of the sale process told Reuters the government will likely reduce the minimum price for Celg-D to around a minimum 2 billion reais to lure firm bids when the process is resumed, probably in September.
Reuters reported in February that the government and state-controlled power holding company Centrais Elétricas Brasileiras SA, which owns 51 percent of Celg-D, had invited AES Corp, Italy's Enel SpA and several Brazilian power utilities to participate in the auction. Brazil's state development bank BNDES and the World Bank's International Finance Corporation are coordinating the process.
The suspension of the Celg-D auction, which some investors saw as a litmus test for investor appetite for state asset sales in Brazil's electricity industry, underscores the difficulties facing an ambitious state asset divestment plan needed to help narrow a record budget deficit this year.
Eletrobras, as the state power holding company is commonly known, has put on the block stakes in several distribution companies to focus on power generation and transmission.
The remaining 49 percent in Celg-D is owned by the state of Goiás through investment holding firm Cia Celg de Participações SA. That stake is also for sale.
($1 = 3.1795 Brazilian reais) (Additional reporting by Leonardo Goy in Brasilia and Gustavo Bonato, Luciano Costa, Tatiana Bautzer and Reese Ewing in São Paulo; Editing by Dan Grebler)
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