Brazil power lines auction sells 14 of 24 lots on offer
SAO PAULO, April 13 (Reuters) - The Brazilian government attracted builders for only 14 out of 24 lots of power transmission lines offered in a licensing round on Wednesday as companies remain cautious in the country's tough economic environment.
The government was looking for companies to build and operate 6,500 km (4,000 miles) of transmission lines in 20 Brazilian states that would connect new generation capacity to the grid.
Despite failing to place all the lots on offer, it celebrated bringing newcomers to the sector such as investment fund Patria Investimentos and construction group WTorre.
"This is excellent," said José Jurhosa, a director at Brazil's electricity watchdog Aneel.
"Maybe the way we managed to structure the auction, forming smaller lots, made possible more participation, with companies that are not traditional players in the sector," he said.
The 14 lots that found buyers will require estimated investments of 6.7 billion reais ($1.92 billion), according to the government.
China State Grid was again active in the auction, as in previous rounds, taking two lots.
Energy group Alupar also snapped two lots, and Taesa, controlled jointly by local power company Cemig and the Coliseu fund, got another lot.
State-run company Centrais Elétricas Brasileiras SA again remained on the sidelines, as it tries to streamline its portfolio and focus on generation.
Other traditional power companies operating in Brazil, such as Cteep, also did not bid.
($1 = 3.485 reais) (Reporting by Luciano Costa; Writing by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by James Dalgleish)
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