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SAO PAULO, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Eletropaulo Metropolitana de São Paulo SA, Brazil's No. 1 power distributor by volume, expects to soon resolve a 28-year legal dispute with state-controlled Centrais Elétricas Brasileiras SA over debts of 2.5 billion reais ($774 million), executives told Valor Econômico newspaper on Friday.
Eletropaulo, controlled by AES Corp, is confident it could win a battle in the courts or even settle the dispute with Eletrobras, as the state firm is known, and power transmission utility CTEEP SA before the end of the year, Valor said, citing Eletropaulo Chief Legal Officer Pedro Bueno.
According to Valor, the dispute is in a lower court, so any ruling could be appealed. Nonetheless, Eletropaulo does not rule out an accord with the other companies, Bueno and Chief Financial Officer Francisco Morandi said. Eletropaulo and Eletrobras did not have an immediate comment.
The debt stems from the lack of a formal split of Eletropaulo's and CTEEP's debts when they were put up for sale to private investors in the late 1990s. Eletropaulo took a loan from Eletrobras in 1986 when it took on the task of distributing electricity in the city of São Paulo in addition to responsibility for transmission activities around the city.
$1 = 3.2307 Brazilian reais Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by Paul Simao