SAO PAULO, May 18 (Reuters) - Shares in Centrais Elétricas Brasileiras SA fell for a third straight day on Wednesday, reflecting concern over a potential government rescue of Brazil’s state-controlled power holding company and an expected delisting of its New York-traded stock.
Eletrobras, as the Rio de Janeiro-based firm is known, fell as much as 7.1 percent to 11.20 reais, on top of drops of 3.8 percent and 4.2 percent in the prior two days. This week’s declines have pared year-to-date gains in the stock to 15 percent.
Trading in American depositary receipts of Eletrobras was suspended on Wednesday after the company told the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it would not file financial statements due to accounting problems. The government is concerned that Eletrobras’ debt ratings could be cut as a result, triggering early debt repayment clauses.
Earlier in the day, Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles said the government would consider injecting fresh capital into Eletrobras, which has been struggling with a two-year recession and policy goals that have drained cash. The company also got ensnared in a sweeping corruption probe on state firms.
Eletrobras has underperformed other shares in the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange in recent days, partly on speculation as to whether the government may need to inject money into the company, analyst Pedro Manfredini of Itaú BBA said in a note to clients on Wednesday.
Traders said the value of minority shareholdings could fall should the government participate actively in a capital injection plan for Eletrobras.
‘CAR WASH’ PROBE
Brazil’s so-called “Operation Car Wash” corruption investigation accelerated the suspension last week of President Dilma Rousseff while the Senate conducts an impeachment trail.
Prosecutors in the probe say construction firms that bribed politicians and executives at state-controlled oil producer Petróleo Brasileiro SA in return for bloated contracts likely repeated the scheme at Eletrobras.
An internal investigation led by law firms Hogan Lovells and WFaria Advogados is not “sufficiently complete” for Eletrobras to determine the impact of the scheme on the company’s finances, resulting in a delay in regulatory filings, it said in a statement on Wednesday.
Petrobras and Eletrobras are both listed on the New York Stock Exchange and are subject to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which aims to prevent graft by companies linked to the United States. (Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Additional reporting by Reese Ewing in São Paulo; Editing by Richard Chang)