July 21, 2016 / 11:37 PM / 2 years ago

Brazil's Eletrobras plans to group assets in blocks to ease sale - source

SAO PAULO, July 21 (Reuters) - Brazil’s state-controlled power holding Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA may group its minority stakes into blocks organized by business segment and geography to facilitate a sale to investors, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Thursday.

Eletrobras, as the company is known, is bracing for a massive reorganization as its new chief executive officer, Wilson Ferreira Jr, takes the helm with the mission of turning around the company after 30 billion reais ($9 billion) in losses over the last four years.

Energy Minister Fernando Coelho Filho said Eletrobras’ situation is “unsustainable,” and requires a reduction of the role the company plays in Brazil’s electricity sector.

The minister signaled the government plans to sell first the minority stakes Eletrobras owns in more than 100 projects in partnerships with private companies. These stakes may be worth 20 billion reais ($6 billion), according to the government.

“We could get higher prices if we sold those stakes grouped by region or type of business, such as generation, distribution or transmission,” said the source, who requested anonymity because plans are still under discussion.

Eletrobras could create, for example, new holding companies to group transmission assets in the northeastern, northern and southeastern regions of the country.

Eletrobras declined to comment on “divestment plans that are not finalized.”

The company intends to privatize all energy distributors controlled by Eletrobras.

A final decision on the distributors will be reached in a shareholders’ assembly on Friday, when the company will vote to either renew concession contracts so they can be sold to investors or hand back some of the money-losing concessions.

Many strategic investors not yet present in Brazil have reached out to the government to express their interest in Eletrobras assets, the source said.

But the fact that some of the assets are ensnared in corruption investigations surrounding political kickbacks at state companies could prevent some investors from bidding, the source added. ($1 = 3.2715 Brazilian reais) (Writing by Tatiana Bautzer, editing by G Crosse)

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